Proxymity this week has the pleasure of participating in, and speaking at, Sibos 2023, the annual banking and finance conference organised by SWIFT. One of the premier forums for the global financial community to gather, learn, and collaborate on opportunities and challenges within finance, the theme for 2023 is “Collaborative finance in a fragmented world” – a natural fit with Proxymity’s mission to create a truly connected financial ecosystem.
Proxymity’s co-founders, CEO Dean Little and COO Jonathan Smalley, gave a timely presentation titled “Global Governance in Capital Markets & Securities Services: Finding Solutions that Enable a Better Ecosystem.” Addressing an audience of industry stakeholders, they presented insights on the pressing challenges and proposed actionable solutions for enhancing global governance.
Here are five key takeaways from their presentation:
1. The Significance of the North American market
The U.S. equity markets, representing a commanding 42.5% of the global equity market cap, stand as titans and in many ways makes North America the epicentre of proxy voting and the shareholder democracy. The sheer size of the market also underscores the imperative for streamlined processes, accuracy, and transparency. The huge number of listed issuers and general meetings annually coupled with the market cap and the regulatory scrutiny dictate the need for solutions like Proxymity to address complexities that arise at this vast scale. Especially, when you consider some of the anachronistic nuances in the market.
2. The Transformative Reach of Proxymity Across the Globe:
The Proxymity platform has been adopted successfully across different markets, reflecting its adaptability and efficiency. Some examples include:
France: A milestone was set as Proxymity became the first non-French entity to connect with Vote Access. Our platform’s speed is showcased as it provides connections for 43% of France’s major issuers, fostering quicker and more transparent interactions. Approximately 70% of vote instructions are now processed via the Proxymity platform.
UK: Votes are now relayed to issuers more than 48 hours earlier. This acceleration in the voting process, coupled with over two days of deadline improvement, exemplifies the revamping of conventional practices.
Australia: Proxymity serves more issuers than any other voting system in Australia. Uniquely, the platform has also allowed users with a remarkable three-day deadline improvement, underlining its efficacy.
3. Recognising and Overcoming Persistent Challenges:
While the strides made in transforming investor communications have been great, challenges remain. Regulatory frameworks constantly evolve, demanding platforms to remain agile. The innate complexities of capital markets add layers of intricacies that need addressing. Additionally, while technology burgeons, its adoption rate in markets remains a concern. The inertia to move away from traditional methods such as excel spreadsheets, physical attendance requirements and paper proxy cards despite them being highly manual and prone to giving rise to irregularities is evident. Addressing these challenges head-on, Proxymity remains committed to evolving and aiding the industry in its transition.
4. Embracing Global Processes for Localised Impact: Collaboration means connectivity
Our digitally intertwined world presents unparalleled opportunities. Processes that are globally standardised can, when customised, bring immense value to local markets. The potential to provide uniformity at scale while catering to local nuances is significant. Proxymity champions this vision, acting as a testament that global proxy voting, shareholder data tech, and other global best practices can seamlessly integrate into local markets, enhancing efficiency, compliance and ensuring richer experiences for both issuers and investors. The power of collaborative finance is unlocked by ever greater, real-time digital connectivity and the combination of Golden Source trusted meeting information, real-time or continuous holdings data reconciled across the chain of ownership and true digital real-time vote execution powering a better ecosystem for everyone.
5. The Zeitgeist of Adaptation and Engagement or ‘The Global Wave is Rising: Adoption and adaptation to match Engagement levels’
The present global scenario amplifies the urgency of adaptation. As major global factors like climate change and say-on-pay continue to fuel ever higher levels engagement between companies and their shareholders and transparency becomes the gold standard, efficient investor communication platforms emerge as non-negotiable assets. This is particularly poignant in times marked by unprecedented ESG shareholder proposals. With a notable record high from July 1, 2022, to May 12, 2023, and increasing shareholder activism, platforms like Proxymity are pivotal. This urgency is further intensified by emerging trends such as the Great Wealth Transfer, where a staggering $84 trillion is projected to change hands by around 2043. Platforms that facilitate seamless engagement, ensuring shareholders’ voices are not just heard but also acknowledged in real time, are indispensable.