Pension schemes and institutional investors are being offered a "revolutionary" streamlined process for exercising their shareholder voting rights as KAS Bank launches Voteroom.
The application takes advantage of blockchain technology to provide more secure, transparent and efficient voting processes at company shareholder meetings, the custodian said.
With further promises of speedier ballot collation and improved reporting transparency, Voteroom is designed to aid pension scheme governance standards across investments.
The application will be piloted at KAS Bank's own general shareholder meeting on 25 April, where complex proxy voting issues and shareholder anonymity will be trialled with a sample of shareholders ahead of any wider launch.
The custodian hopes that, once testing is completed, Voteroom will be used by listed companies to improve the efficiency of their own shareholder meetings. While the app will be paid for by the companies, shareholders will be able to access it for free.
Managing director Pat Sharman said the app arose from a recognition of a need for improvements in "very cumbersome, very manual" shareholder voting processes.
"Policymakers and trustees are increasingly looking to improve governance standards of pension schemes and we want to assist with this challenge across the investment process," she said. "Upholding shareholders' democratic voting rights, we identified the gap for improved efficiency and transparency when communicating shareholders' decisions on investment policies.
"This initiative demonstrates our commitment to innovation and improving governance standards via the use of technology. It is encouraging to see progression of further positive pioneering data services being developed by our forward-thinking KAS Lab, not only bringing institutional schemes into the technological age but ultimately making the lives of shareholders far easier."
Sharman added blockchain - essentially a database - is "the ideal place to build something like this" as it enables records to be held securely and bars any changes once inputted.
Further opportunities for the technology exist in the pensions sector and elsewhere, she added.
"If you think about all the records that you have to hold for pension fund investments, but also the membership and administration, you can see the future that potentially blockchain could go in supporting the data that pension funds hold and need to make more informed decisions."
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