South Africa’s central securities depository (StrateCSD) is tapping into blockchain technology to improve efficiency and transparency of the capital markets.
Strate has signed an agreement with Nasdaq to deliver a new blockchain solution that would bring electronic voting to the South African capital markets.
The solution will allow Strate, in conjunction with key stakeholders in the market, to provide general meeting services and give shareholders an easy, user-friendly, and secure tool for voting remotely.
Strate is South Africa’s Central Securities Depository. It is a financial market infrastructure that owns technology to securely hold equities, bonds, and money market securities in electronic form so that buyers and sellers can exchange ownership of these securities once they are successfully traded.
It is an independent company, serving multiple stock exchanges in South Africa as well as their respective issuer clients.
In addition, Strate will contribute to the ongoing market development of e-Voting technology.
“We are very excited about our initiative with Nasdaq and what it means for the South African financial markets,” said Tanya Knowles, Managing Executive of Fractal Solutions, a division of Strate that is taking the lead in South Africa by researching and exploring blockchain technology for the market.
Fractal Solutions is responsible for both evolutionary and revolutionary innovation that is set to create a change in thinking in the financial services arena.
“One needs to understand that the environment at the moment is very administratively intensive, which means there are many inefficiencies and risks associated with it. This is not ideal in today’s electronic age, as technology like blockchain can serve as a solution. The solution aims to service our clients’ needs across the market from transfer secretaries to issuers, custodians, asset managers and those holding shares in listed companies,” says Knowles.
“Given that it is an end-to-end solution – from the time a meeting is announced and all the way through the voting process to the publishing of results – it means that all stakeholders will truly benefit within the process.”
The financial services market is already being shaped by the rise of blockchain / distributed ledger technology, cryptocurrencies, and Initial Coin Offerings, and this fintech disruption is a key focus for Fractal Solutions.
“A major indicator of progress in the capital markets is when technology not only bolsters performance, but also improves efficiency and transparency,” said Lars Ottersgård, Executive Vice President and Head of Market Technology, Nasdaq.
“By leveraging blockchain, we are able to reduce friction in the voting and proxy assignment process and also ensure that all information is transparent to stakeholders when required and with the proper security, governance and risk procedures in place.”