Compliance is a boring but necessary part of financial services and, for both public and private companies, maintaining a share register is part of that administration.
But managed the right way, share registers can deliver far more than meeting legal requirements; they can help you to build more profitable investor relationships.
The legalities of managing investor data
In most countries, financial organisations are required by law to keep a record of shareholder data, so you know who owns your company at any given point in time. A database also makes it easier to contact investors in the event of an AGM or company vote, or arranging dividend payments.
Many companies create a list or register to manage this information, which needs to include investors’ names and addresses, the amount paid on their shares, how many shares they hold and what class, and the date that they became an investor. In some countries there are additional requirements; the length of ownership is a particularly important detail to record in France, Italy and Spain for instance, as loyal investors receive additional rights.
For publicly owned companies there is a further requirement, as it must be declared on record if anyone with voting rights acquires an interest in your shares. To manage these administrative requirements, most public companies turn to a registrar or Central Securities Deposit (CDS) to outsource the job, but this often results in high fees and slow updates, as many such custodians are using legacy technology.
On the other hand, private companies tend to manage investor data in-house via an excel spreadsheet or word document, but this makes it difficult to ensure there is a single accurate copy of the list at all times, and that everybody is updating the same document. Sometimes these spreadsheets aren’t password protected either, leaving them vulnerable to unauthorised changes.
Getting legally-required information into a central list might be the end of the exercise for many businesses, but with this approach you are missing the opportunity to nurture the value of your investor base. By migrating to an online share register, however, you can do so much more with the data you are collecting.
The benefits of getting to know your investors
There are many reasons to embrace new share register technology within your organisation – these include:
- Secure, central database which all your employees can access
- Increased data protection – leading solutions like Own’s Decentralised Share Register upload information to the blockchain, which makes it tamper-proof
- Eliminates inconsistencies as data is automatically synchronised
- Complete transparency – investors can log-in themselves to check details are correct
But rather than just being a safer, more efficient way to manage investor information, platforms like Own’s DSR give you the potential to build stronger shareholder relationships, by gathering further insight into your investor base – such as their gender or age. This is because our DSR includes analytical reporting features, which enable you to look at different aspects of your database and understand who your investors are in greater detail.
More importantly, you can use this segmentation capability to target your marketing communications – for example, identifying investors who rarely vote on company motions, and giving them an incentive to participate.
In addition to encouraging further interactions between you and your investors, the individuals you are targeting will value being marketed to in a tailored manner. Who knows; it may even lead to them increasing their holding.
Why Own is invested in share register technology
One of the key reasons Own developed our DSR is to empower financial services organisations. We want to make it easier for you to maintain accurate investor data, but also create a platform through which you can get to know shareholders better – and reap the benefits of that knowledge.
And to make our DSR even more attractive, we offer access to our core register technology free of charge, with no hidden fees for adding investors to your list. This ‘freemium’ model enables companies of all sizes to start managing your shareholder data better, and utilise it for business development opportunities.
Visit our Decentralised Share Register page for more information on how your company can benefit from better investor data management.