National Settlement Depository (NSD), Russia’s central securities depository, has completed development of the e-voting platform. The new service will be used for the first time at Sberbank’s annual general meeting of shareholders summing up the 2016 results. The e-voting platform is a universal voting mechanism. It enables security holders not only to remotely participate in shareholder meetings held via either joint presence but also to vote at AGMs held in absentia.
To access the new platform, a security holder shall be identified via the Unified Authorization and Authentication System (UAIS), which is used on the State Services Portal. Thus, shareholders with an account registered on the Portal shall not register again and can access the e-voting service. Shareholders who are not registered at the State Services Portal shall register to vote at www.e-vote.ru. In addition to this, Sberbank shareholders will be able to use the e-voting service at the annual general meeting of shareholders of Sberbank via a one-time login and password received from STATUS JSC, their registrar.
To vote, a shareholder shall visit www.e-vote.ru. In the upper right corner of the screen, he/ she shall click on the Vote icon. Then, the shareholder will be taken to the authorization page where he/she will input login and password information to use the State Services Portal.
If the authorization is successful, the shareholder will select an issuer from the list in his/her account. Then, he/she shall select a relevant corporate action; on the special page, the shareholder will receive access to all necessary materials and documents associated with the corporate action, as well as to the voting function.
About the e-voting platform
Implementing an e-voting service in the Russian market became possible once Federal Law № 210-FZ was adopted; it established the right of shareholders to use this type of voting at shareholders meetings as of 1 July 2016. Issuers (such as Sberbank) which added the e-voting option for their shareholders to their charters are entitled to propose such service.
The e-voting platform provides shareholders with free access to the e-voting website.
The service has the following functionality:
- An opportunity to register and vote electronically (by filling out an electronic ballot at www.e-vote.ru);
- An opportunity to connect to the video or text broadcasting (depending on the issuer’s choice);
- An access to agenda items and materials of the meeting;
- Online communications with the issuers during the meeting.
The platform is accessible anywhere in the world; no special technical means are required to vote. The new service is available for all categories of shareholders regardless of where their securities are held - in the register or with a depository. If an investor owns shares of a few companies, he/she may vote via the platform’s services without bearing additional costs. The e-voting platform is a turnkey solution which can be integrated into issuers’ and registrars’ computer systems.
When using the e-voting platform, an issuer and its audit committee can receive data about shareholders’ votes in the online mode. To calculate votes and adopt resolutions, the issuer can timely register the votes of shareholders who attended the meeting and the votes submitted via the e-voting system. The document interchange between issuers, registrars, and the CSD will be carried out on the basis of ISO international formats implemented by NSD as part of corporate action reform. It provides for a straight through process of automation across all stages of meetings.
This platform will be convenient for different issuers: from major companies with tens and hundreds of thousands of shareholders to small issuers.
The use of the e-voting service by issuers becomes very important if shareholders live in different Russian regions and abroad.