Santander and Broadridge, in collaboration with JPMorgan and Northern Trust as custodian banks, have completed a test run of blockchain for investor voting at the Spanish bank's annual general meeting (AGM).
The pilot was run in parallel to the AGM, with blockchain being utilised to produce a 'shadow' digital register of the proxy voting taking place in the traditional model.
Built in collaboration with Santander's inhouse blockchain lab and using JPMorgan's open source Quorum platform, the pilot attracted 21% of institutional votes during the AGM.
Investors had the opportunity to see how their votes could be counted and confirmed instantaneously, instead of having to wait two weeks in a process that includes manual activity by different intermediaries.
Sergio Gámez, global head of shareholders and investor relations at Banco Santander, comments: “The Annual General Meeting is one of the most important corporate governance events for any listed company. In the case of Santander, having very fragmented capital, it is very important to ensure the participation by investors and shareholders, and this year using blockchain technology for the institutional vote has been a great help in terms of transparency and agility across the vote lifecycle.”
As an additional benefit, the platform represents a new business opportunity for the bank's corporate servicing business, which acts as issuer’s agent in AGMs of more than 50 large clients.