Companies are required by law to keep track of who owns their business, and most view this legislation as a simple ‘tick the box’ exercise. However, with a little TLC and the right technology, forward-thinking firms are using investor data to create lucrative business development opportunities.
From list to launch pad
At present, because most companies perceive managing investor data as an admin job, they don’t pay much attention to how it is done. Lists tend to be documented on a spreadsheet and a word document, or delegated to a third party, and only revisited when it needs updating. Few consider using an online platform to manage their share register – but the difference this simple switch could make to their growth plans is massive.
The reason for this is that share register technology is far more than a list-keeping tool; it is a rich database of investor insights that can be analysed, segmented and leveraged to increase shareholder value. Essentially, it’s a CRM tool as well as a means of compliance.
Up until this point, share register management platforms haven’t always been accessible to businesses, or have involved a significant up-front investment. However, a new wave of blockchain innovation is changing the landscape and making it easier and cheaper than ever before to manage investor records. And we at Own are proud to be part of this movement with the launch of the world’s first Decentralised Share Register.
Own’s DSR is one of the first examples of a real financial services product that is based on the blockchain. It’s a match made in heaven because there is no need for a registrar or CSD with a separate infrastructure.
One of the benefits of building a blockchain-based platform is that there is no central authority, avoiding the situation where there are multiple versions of the list at one point in time. Information is uploaded securely to the blockchain and can be accessed by any authorised person at any time – who will always see up-to-date data. Plus, blockchain automatically creates version histories, putting paid to those heart stopping moments when a member of the team accidentally deletes important records.
Connecting with investors – and finding new opportunities
Another key reason we developed our DSR was to empower companies to have a direct relationship with their investors – and vice versa. As data is updated in real-time there is no need for reconciliation, or reliance on third parties such as registrars or CSDs to manage the processes correctly. This makes all interactions and transactions quicker, easier and ultimately more cost-effective to execute, whilst building direct trust with the investor base.
To enhance this direct access, Own’s DSR includes an investor login and mobile application, so that shareholders can access their holding and update their details as needed.
However, the greatest benefit of a direct relationship is the ability to communicate in a personalised way, and we have created a number of features to strengthen this opportunity. Our DSR includes a number of reporting features, which enable companies to understand exactly who their investors are, and break down each demographic group to see who they must target to nurture value and influence voting resolutions.
By using these analysis tools, businesses will be able to segment their shareholder data and create tailored marketing campaigns for those target groups, or arrange face-to-face meetings with them as necessary. Whatever their ultimate company goal, this level of customisation can get them closer to achieving it, and enhance their understanding of what type of investor they need to attract at the same time.
In addition, with these analytical capabilities, companies can begin to collect additional information on their investor base – such as gender, age and social media accounts – in order to deepen their insight further, and create even better targeted communications.
Having this depth of information will enable businesses to decide not just who they want to reach out to, but how they want to approach them. For example, they may want to incentivise avid social media users to become brand ambassadors, or use voucher offerings to convert shareholders into customers. They could even potentially leverage their investor network for recruitment purposes.
And on a larger scale, this type of communications shifts conversations away from the AGM into a continuous digital dialogue – so investors can influence decision-making all year round, and feel a valued part of the business.
Widening the circle without increasing the cost
While the CRM benefits of managing investor data better are clear, some organisations are reluctant to commit to an online platform as they (mistakenly) believe it will be costlier to their business.
Unlike some tech providers that charge per record, however, Own’s DSR is available on a freemium model; meaning our core services are available free of charge, and users are not charged per record when creating a shareholder register. This opens the gates for companies to attract as many investors as they want, of all sizes, and increase the available capital they have to grow.
In addition to this, our approach to investor management supports new capital raising opportunities further, as the blockchain technology on which our DSR is built enables companies to tokenize shares – and therefore they can sell fractional shares to interested parties. This is a great way to avoid a costly IPO, and attract new types of investor who would otherwise have been priced out of the market.
Visit our Decentralised Share Register page to find out more about the benefits of a blockchain-based share register.