Banco Santander Completes Blockchain Pilot For Investor Voting

Announcements, Blockchain, Innovation | May 17, 2018 By:

Spanish banking giant Banco Santander and FinTech firm Broadridge have completed a test run of a blockchain solution for investor voting at the bank’s annual general meeting (AGM).

The pilot was conducted on March 23, with participation from Banco Santander Corporate Services as the issuer’s agent and Santander’s blockchain lab. JP Morgan and Northern Trust also participated as custodian banks. The pilot was run in parallel to the AGM, with blockchain being utilized to produce a “shadow” digital register of the proxy voting taking place in the traditional model.

The blockchain proxy voting solution, Broadridge’s first application of blockchain technology, was built in collaboration with Santander’s blockchain lab and using JP Morgan’s open source Quorum platform. It provides transparency by adapting distributed ledger technology (DLT) capabilities to provide daily insight into vote progress throughout the issuer’s proxy voting period, from meeting announcement date to the annual general meeting.

During the bank’s annual general meeting, institutional investors were able 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. The pilot attracted 21 percent of institutional votes during the AGM.

Sergio Gámez, global head of Shareholders and Investor Relations at Banco Santander, said the AGM 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.

Luis Antonio Perez, head of Corporate Services at Banco Santander, added that blockchain technology has enhanced efficiency and transparency upon the reception and vote tabulation process.