A Proof-of-Concept(PoC) for corporate shareholder e-voting using Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) will be trialled in Singapore by SWIFT, a global messaging service provider for financial institutions, in collaboration with the Singapore Exchange (SGX), SLIB, a securities software provider, and 4 banks. This was announced by SWIFT in a press release on March 6.
The 4 banks are Deutsche Bank, DBS, HSBC and Standard Chartered. The PoC will be trialled in the Asia-Pacific region.
As per the press release, the goal of the PoC is to “explore whether DLT can help simplify the current inefficient management of shareholder meetings and the associated voting processes that are often time-consuming and resource-intensive”. Most common shareholders opt to vote by proxy which is often mired by non-transparent and needless complexity.
SWIFT will conduct the PoC in its DLT sandbox testing environment. Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered will act as participants while DBS and SGX will join as both issuers and participants.
According to the announcement, the proof-of-concept (PoC) trial intends to test a DLT based voting solution involving issuers and a central securities depository (CSD), with data managed over a permissioned private blockchain. The participants will also explore the possibility of using hybrid solutions that merge financial messaging standard ISO 20022 with DLT to boost interoperability and “avoid market fragmentation”.
Tony Lewis, Head of Securities Services, HSBC, is quoted in the press release as stating that:
“Shareholder voice in corporate decision making is stifled by the existing paper-based voting process. Technology is the solution to enhancing shareholder say. e-Voting using DLT has the potential to create greater efficiencies, transparency and participation”
SWIFT has been a proactive adopter of blockchain. As reported by KryptoMoney in January, SWIFT has collaborated with blockchain consortium R3 for a PoC on payment gateway. It has also been active in collaborating with both traditional financial firms and fintech startups.