Recommendations catch up with modern world, but tech alone is not a ‘one and done’ solution.
Today, the Digitisation Taskforce published its interim report with a set of recommendations for the government, seeking feedback on a number of key questions, ahead of the publication of a final report to be delivered within six months.
Number one of seven proposals is recommendations for legislation to stop the issuance of new paper share certificates.
Richard Wilson, CEO, interactive investor, says: “Private investors have been able to invest digitally for over two decades, and today’s recommendations have finally caught up. Cutting through paperwork and red tape also brings crucial positives for shareholders. The scope for unintended consequences when paper share certificates are kept in the bottom drawer is huge.
“What we now have is a set of sensible proposals that seek to align the rights of shareholders with the rights of nominee shareholders. That means that beneficial owners should be better able to exercise their shareholder rights, and issuers can better identify and communicate with those shareholders, driving efficiencies in time and cost.
“But while technology is key, we need more than one solution. Today’s report notes that private investor voting numbers have been on an upwards trajectory; but the industry should not assume this trajectory will continue, even as more investment platforms begin to facilitate access.
“While interactive investor saw a 30% increase in votes processed last year after we made our voting service opt out, rather than opt in, 92% of votes still went to waste. And nor can we rely on this upward trajectory continuing – we will be publishing our voting numbers for the year to date very soon.
“At ii, we still have some technology innovations up our sleeve and coming soon, and which will make it even easier to vote. But this is not a ‘one and done’ solution. This stuff is hard. We want to see better, more retail-friendly communications in the run up to and after an AGM. UK PLC must play its part.”
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