What is Sharegate?
On its most basic level, www.sharegate.com is a social network for all players in the corporate structure, including shareholders, corporations and their investor relations representatives, institutional fund managers, and affiliates such as special interest groups, academic professionals, and media representatives. All participants are verified and only those engaging in professional, polite discussion are allowed to participate. From the Sharegate platform, users connect and collaborate to discuss investment strategies, exchange information, raise issues, and conduct corporate governance.
How Does it Work?
Sharegate’s three patent-pending software applications, “Share Ask,” “Share Action,” and “Share Vote,” bring previously fractured processes onto one platform to improve communication and collaboration between corporate stakeholders. Each of these applications addresses problems that have become inherent in the corporate structure as it has matured, and provide a solution made possible by modern technology.
Share Ask introduces a simple and efficient communication platform where shareholders can communicate with publicly traded companies. Prior to Share Ask, an inquiring investor communicated privately with a company representative via email or the phone. To do so required the investor to search for the proper email address or phone number on the company website. Share Ask allows the same engaged investor to ask any company a question from the Sharegate network then captures all correspondence between the Sharegate member and the corporation – allowing fellow Sharegate members to view the dialogue. All shareholders and companies stand to benefit as knowledge is more readily available to investors and companies avoid answering repetitive questions. Furthermore, by introducing transparency into corporate shareholder dialogue, Share Ask promotes a higher standard of accountability, as all members are aware of a company’s responsiveness and the questions raised.
Share Action improves another process inherent in the corporate structure – the ability of an owner to bring an issue to the attention of fellow shareholders. Previously, to do so successfully required a labor-intensive process resulting in inclusion of the shareholder proposal on the annual proxy. Visibility of the issue was limited to company representatives and the concerned shareholder until the time the proxies were mailed. Share Action changes this by allowing any shareholder to present a non-binding proposal through the network to fellow Sharegate members, allowing for a quick measure of owner sentiment regarding a particular issue.
Only verified shareholders are allowed to vote on these proposals, and while non-binding, these voting outcomes serve as strong indicators of success for any given resolution. Proposals with strong support on www.sharegate.com can easily be submitted to the concerned corporation for inclusion on the proxy, resulting in actual resolutions. Strikingly, shareholders now have a method to bring issues to the attention of fellow shareholders outside of the existing process, and companies can anticipate issues likely to be raised by participating within the Sharegate network.
The last of Sharegate’s patent-pending processes, Share Vote, allows for the transfer of shareholder voting rights among owners of the same corporation. With small ownership interests in several companies, many investors do not have time to research the pertinent issues of any given corporation. With the ability to delegate their voting rights to a more knowledgeable, heavily engaged shareholder, shareholders are assured that their vote will be exercised prudently. Responsible, progressive corporations should be pleased to see both more knowledgeable shareholders involved in corporate elections and a decrease in unexercised votes.
Connecting Shareholders and Corporations
Importantly, Sharegate centralizes stakeholders in an era where corporate ownership is increasingly fractured among mutual, hedge, pension, and electronically traded funds, as well as individual shareholders. With easy access to individual and network voting power data, each member can measure their own impact and the Sharegate network’s influence when engaging a corporation. As participation on www.sharegate.com increases and voting majorities are assembled, decisions essential to proper oversight of the corporate structure will originate on the network.
Sharegate provides an intuitive forum for individuals, institutional investors, corporate representatives, and other concerned parties to exchange information with other known stakeholders. Shareholder meetings will now occur continuously. Corporations now have an avenue to efficiently dialogue with verified shareholders with maximum transparency. Shareholders can now organize and enact decisions quickly. The Sharegate network connects all of these parties, thus empowering all participants.
I’ve taken the system for a spin and think it represents a giant leap forward for shareowners, if we take advantage of the tools Sharegate makes available. Now that the system is live, I’ll be participating with it and writing more about it as time progresses. Take if for a spin. Give us feedback.