Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: BR), an S&P 500 company and global Fintech leader, and ICJ Inc., a joint venture of Broadridge and the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. (TSE), have successfully conducted the first Proof of Concept (PoC) of blockchain-based proxy voting in Japan, using Quorum as the underlying distributed ledger technology (DLT).
Developed specifically for the Japanese proxy market, the DLT-based solution mirrored the proxy voting processes which included unique file transfer protocols on the ICJ electronic voting platform. Blockchain is ideally suited to streamline and automate complex reconciliation processes amongst numerous players in the chain of custody which exist in the Japanese proxy market.
“The successful completion of the Japan market DLT-based voting platform PoC builds on our investment in leading-edge technology solutions in the investor communications space,” said Patricia Rosch, President of Investor Communication Solutions, International at Broadridge. “The Japan project validated our view on how an interoperable blockchain platform can play a central role in raising corporate governance by creating end-to-end vote transparency and driving operational efficiency in light of the unique processing requirements in Japan.”
Shigeo Imakiire, President, ICJ Inc., said “The PoC is a first step to deploy and utilize this new technology, and we will continue to pursue a path in enhancing the efficiency and transparency of the voting process in Japan, which involves a variety of domestic and global market players.”
The validation was performed in a test environment in which the role of local custodians, global custodians, the central securities depositary, and local transfer agents was simulated. The final positions of these organizations were loaded on the ledger and reconciliation was performed using smart contracts. The result demonstrates that if position management is performed on a ledger for the purposes of proxy voting, the ledger could also be used as the single source of truth for subsequent data reference needs, resulting in the reduction or elimination of complex reconciliation processes. ICJ and Broadridge concluded the project in November 2018.
ICJ-participating issuers represent 87% of the TSE First Section market cap, 97% of Nikkei 225 index constituents and 84% of Japan Exchange Group (JPX)-Nikkei Index 400 constituents.
ICJ and Broadridge are committed to drive the innovation roadmap and develop solutions that allow clients to get ahead of today’s challenges and capitalize on tomorrow’s opportunities. The Japan proxy project is a further development of ICJ’s strategy to deploy leading technologies, including blockchain, and to focus on co-innovating with partners in specific areas where there is deep understanding of technology and operations processes.