Russia’s NSD commits to e-voting

Russia’s National Settlement Depository (NSD) has begun to develop an electronic voting platform for shareholder meetings. It says it plans to launch the new service in the first half of 2017.

The e-voting platform will enable security holders to remotely participate in physical shareholder meetings, as well as meetings held in absentia.

Maria Krasnova, deputy chairwoman of the NSD executive board, said: “E-voting is a revolutionary platform not only for the Russian market, but also for most foreign markets, including developed ones. This type of voting already works in Turkey, India, Korea, Taiwan and in some other markets and it has demonstrated its efficiency. E-voting significantly increases the level of shareholder participation (including foreign ones) at annual meetings, and also upgrades market attractiveness for global investors. The biggest challenge we now face is developing and implementing the newest reliable technological solutions for this project.”

The e-voting platform will give shareholders free access to the e-voting website. They will be able to follow the meeting by either watching video or reading text broadcasting and vote on agenda items. All information required for voting will also be accessible online.

Shareholders will be able to access the platform anywhere in the world; there will be no need for any special technical voting methods. Thus, shareholders will be fully independent when using e-voting resources.

The new service will be available to all shareholders, regardless of where securities are kept – in the register or with the depository. If an investor holds shares of a few companies, he/she will be able to vote using the single platform’s services and will incur no additional expenses.

The e-voting platform will be a ready solution that issuers will integrate with their own systems, as well as with their registrar’s computer systems, continues the NSD.

An issuer and its ballot commission will be able to receive ballots online. Thus, for counting votes and adopting resolutions, the issuer will take into account the votes of shareholders attending the meeting in person, as well as shareholders voting remotely via the e-voting system.

The document interchange between issuers, registrars and the CSD will be based on international ISO formats implemented by NSD as part of corporate actions reform. This will provide the opportunity for straight- through-processing at all stages of shareholder meetings, the NSD concludes.