AST claims to have created the first industry platform with registered and street securities ownership information available together, providing a more comprehensive view of ownership.
AST, a leading tech-enabled professional services firm with transfer agent roots, gave me a peek under the hood of their database. Issuer Central™ brings together many of the core services corporate securities issuers require in one secure, centralized platform. AST believes Issuer Central will transform the way corporate issuers understand their ownership by providing unprecedented insights and fostering greater collaboration among C-suite teams.
From an AST Press Release on Issuer Central
Issuer Central is a one-of-a-kind platform that presents multiple AST services – including Ownership Intelligence, Registry Services, and Proxy – as a comprehensive offering for senior management through a single dashboard. CEOs, CFOs, corporate secretaries, treasurers, investor relations teams and human resources professionals can all have access to the same rich data and can customize their dashboard view based on their unique needs.
says Brian J. Longe, President & CEO,
AST is a leader in supporting the issuers of corporate securities with a strategic mix of transformative technology and expert advisory. With Issuer Central, we are providing intelligence into investor trends and characteristics, thereby unlocking the value of ownership data. Our platform has the power to strengthen businesses, create efficiencies by eliminating the silos under which C-suite teams have historically operated.
AST: Breaking New Ground on Ownership Intelligence
Issuer Central launches with the most comprehensive ownership data set currently available, providing companies with actionable intelligence about their shareholders. By leveraging proprietary data sets developed over decades by AST and its D.F. King & Co. subsidiary, the platform normalizes and integrates registered and street ownership information in one interface.
The new platform pairs seamlessly with AST’s existing Ownership Intelligence service and also allows users to customize their view of share ownership data according to their needs. Key functions include:
- Showing issuers changes and trends in who owns, controls, buys and sells their shares;
- Monitoring activist shareholders and potential hostile takeovers;
- Analyzing a share’s competitive value-drivers through peer investor analysis;
- Understanding potential investor ownership risk and opportunities ahead of corporate actions;
- Reporting to increase awareness of proxy agency influence upon institutional investors.
AST: An Integrated Vision
Throughout 2018, additional services, capabilities and data sets will be offered through Issuer Central, allowing for further data integration and engendering a whole new level of knowledge-sharing and teamwork within organizations.
Registry Services: AST’s Registry Services clients will have on-demand access to share registry and data intelligence. It will also create efficiencies by allowing for faster and more customizable configuration of reporting and a consolidated view of information.
Proxy: Powered by blockchain technology, this service will provide near real-time vote tabulation and reporting. The new interface presents issuers with greater access and transparency to campaign setup, status and results with user configurable reports. The solution supports AST’s current phone, IVR and proxy card voting options as well as a redesigned mobile-friendly shareholder voting portal. All sources are captured on the blockchain to ensure the data is accurate, immutable and secure.
AST & Issuer Central: My Take
Unfortunately, due to their alignment with companies as a transfer agent, Issuer Central is not available to the street, only to companies. For shareholders, it would be a very handy tool in analyzing shareholder holdings over the last 12 quarters (as well as losses or gains), in determining how other funds are likely to vote on various issues based on proxy advisor(s), and in finding possible alliances and their contact information for exploring coordinated efforts. You can also easily compare companies to their peers.
As a shareholder, I’d love to have this tool. It is the best I have seen for ownership data not required by SEC filings. I am sure companies will also find it useful. It is always good to know who your owners are, how much they have invested and how much they are making or losing over time. Shareholder communications have become more critical over time. If you do not feel the need to return calls from large shareholders like BlackRock or Vanguard, you can probably skip this tool. However, if you value communicating with your shareholders, both large and small, Issuer Central is certainly worth exploring.
AST was originally founded as a transfer agent over 45 years ago. Through organic growth and strategic acquisitions, AST has pioneered a new model of integrated services in the industry. AST affiliates include AST Trust Company (Canada), D.F. King & Co, Inc. and Donlin, Recano & Company, Inc.
Today, AST offers a full scope of services that include registry services, corporate proxy solicitation and advisory solutions, employee plan services, information agent, mutual fund proxy solicitation, shareholder identification, asset recovery and investment management offerings. For more information, please visit www.astfinancial.com.