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Keeping costs in check is always important – and as companies look to chart a course beyond the pandemic, that’s likely to be as critical as ever in 2021. At Avenir, our belief has always been that we can use the latest technology to produce a registry platform that works as fairly as possible for issuers, investors – and indeed ourselves as the service provider. We thought we would take the opportunity to highlight just three of the ways our solution has been structured to maximise efficiency and value at every turn.

Avoiding spikes in CREST traffic fees

From the outset as we looked to deliver something different as a registrars, we realised that a key part of this strategy should be transparency of pricing. We wanted to ensure that our exchange traded clients could start each year with confidence over how our fees would contribute to their overall cost of maintaining a market listing.

So, whilst there are a series of fixed costs that we can’t escape from, our smart use of technology gives Avenir an edge. By automating as many stages of the registry management process as possible, we’re not only removing the risk of human error, but are delivering efficiency gains at the same time, too. By harnessing the benefits of a straight through process here, we’re able to absorb the CREST traffic fees, rather than being obliged to pass those back to a client. Typically this will only be a modest sum, but when companies see bursts of trading activity – something that is often common amongst rumour-hungry small cap investors – it can provide an unnecessary and unexpected bill for the issuer, but is something Avenir clients can confidently avoid.

Making it easier to keep in touch with investors

Ensuring that investor details are maintained in an accurate and timely manner presents challenges. Recording investments, divestments and the impact of corporate actions isn’t a problem, but ensuring investors can easily advise of mundane events such as change of address helps improve the whole IR experience – and means it’s easier to find those security holders when the need arises.

To account for this, Avenir has created an Investor Portal, allowing accredited investors secure access into their holdings. This makes it as simple as possible for holders of securities to manage the administrative aspects of their investments. Available 24/7 and is offered automatically on all issuances, investors can undertake a wide range of functions on a self-service basis, including:

Managing shareholder details such as registered address updates, transferring shares to other individuals or entities, arranging dividend payments to nominated bank accounts, making proxy appointments and provide voting instructions and managing how they receive further correspondence from the issuer.

As with all Avenir technology, the Investor Portal has been designed to work in a highly intuitive fashion. This ensures users have a seamless experience and are incentivised to keep details up to date whilst minimising the administrative burden faced by the registrar and company secretary. Reuniting securities holders with ‘lost’ or dormant assets at a later date can also be an expensive task for the registered keeper.

QR codes to validate securities certificates

Each securities certificate produced by Avenir Registrars now includes a QR code. These black and white pixelated grids have surged in popularity of late, not only as smartphone cameras now come complete with the necessary decoding software but also as the COVID pandemic has accelerated the adoption of contactless technologies. By adding the QR code to each certificate, its validity can be checked by anyone with a smartphone in a matter of seconds – something that would otherwise require a phone call to the registrar.

Confirming whether a certificate has been issued as a duplicate or updated to account for a transaction or scrip issue can now be done in a matter of seconds from anywhere in the world, rather than always having to resort to more time consuming, manual processes – which often result in having to make a call to a premium rate phone number.

Samiul Siddique, Head of Capital Markets, Avenir Registrars

This article originally appeared in the February 2021 version of AIM Journal. You can can download a printable version here.

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