Guest Post: Miguel Carrasco – Managing Director and proxy solicitation consultant at Proxycensus Ltd specializing in issues relating to information transmittal, social media technology in IR and the technicalities of the cross border voting process.
The global economic crisis has brought to the fore the pertinence of corporate governance issues in industrialized, emerging and developing economies alike. As part of an effort to minimize future economic problems, policymakers and regulators are increasingly making changes to corporate governance practices in order to enhance transparency, get greater director accountability and give shareholders more say in certain boardroom decisions.
However there has long been a discrepancy between the level of information made available to various segments of a public companies shareholder base.
Institutional investors have access to ever growing number of analytical and governance tools to assist them with their fiduciary rights. IR departments are bombarded with offers from service providers and well the BoD and management team themselves – Board apps, consultancy firms and various other supporting systems.
The same can’t be said for retail investors who are, not only the first to take the brunt of any downward turn from a companies financial statements, but also inevitability the last to receive direct notice of any corporate event such as a shareholder meeting is even taking place.
It’s a simple fact that active participation in the corporate life of a company for a small shareholder is still hindered by factors often insurmountable.
Individual weight doesn’t matter, the cost of voting is still high, reduced responsiveness to market fluctuations, information asymmetries and as previously underlined the lack of access to professional decision making supporting tools. That’s where we decided something needed to be done.
We wanted to take onboard a number of current issues, that are often pinballed around on various forums and social platforms: from the use to social media by IRO’s to sustainability, RI to transparency, Boardroom battle to shareholder meetings, in short, a tool that would square up to all these issues. Topics that are repeatedly argued, yet never really solved.
The application provides information and FREE notification alerts on upcoming shareholder meetings, also thanks to the collaboration of Manifest the UK proxy voting agency, ProxyTell and Frontisgovernance (partner of ECGS) users can receive a proxy report analysis on all the agenda items up for shareholder scrutiny. For each meeting called by a company (The App currently covers over 1700 companies across 20 indexes including the 500 largest US companies), the application will send a notification message.
The shareholder/user concerned can then immediately see, from their mobile or tablet device, all the details of the shareholder meeting: date, place, time, record date, and official meeting notice or proxy statement. Another message will then alert the user of the availability of the analysis carried out by Manifest, ProxyTell or Frontisgovernance.
The analysis themselves can be obtained through the in-app purchasing system for a very low cost. The proxy reports offer a high level of insight for shareholders to assist them in making their voting decision and all this a done through a paperless, intuitive, centralized and easy to use App. But it doesn’t stop there. Built into the app there is also a support function that enables the user to contact us directly for any assistance requirements. For further information please contact Miguel at firstname.lastname@example.org.