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The second half of 2020 was acknowledged as having seen an uptick in merger and acquisition activity and this is a trend which has been forecast to continue over the coming months. The economic backdrop, which has left some companies flush with cash whilst others are gripped with fear over the financial impact of government support structures being wound down, creates an ideal climate for hostile bids to be made. However, with the potential for prime assets to be left badly mis-priced, the ability to communicate quickly with shareholders, as well as keep a weather eye on any potential stake-building activity, has perhaps never been more important than it is today.

Shareholder registers are by their very design constrained by the T+2 settlement window, but issuers using the Avenir platform can do so with the confidence of knowing that not only are registers updated immediately after settlement, but that real time access to this information can be obtained by any authorised officer of an issuer on a self-serve basis. Unlike legacy systems used by others, these reports can be accessed on demand, rather than requiring a series of manual requests before overnight ‘batch runs’ return the necessary information.

That functionality, combined with the self-serve investor portal which allows securities holders to keep their contact details up to date, provides a powerful resource not only for day to day investor relations, but also when a more proactive communications strategy may be necessary. Lobbying asset owners to argue against a hostile takeover or predatory moves by large shareholders or creditors could help sustain an ownership status quo for the business in the short to medium term, allowing the full benefits of any economic recovery to be realised in the longer term.

Having the flexibility to access registers of securities holders quickly, easily and on the terms that suit the client is just one of the reasons why a growing number of issuers of both debt and equities are turning to Avenir Registrars – almost 350 unique issuances have now been conducted for clients.

Avenir works with companies at every stage of their business lifecycle, ranging from those who are pre-IPO, to fully established firms. As a result, as well as being able to assist new issuers with every aspect of the listing journey from establishing LEI and ISIN numbers to company formation and appointing corporate advisers, we are also highly experienced in the transfer of share registers. Although that process may seem like a daunting task – and incumbent providers may well push that message too – the team at Avenir is fully versed in how to help issuers through this. We are recognised as having a proven track record of seamlessly and swiftly migrating clients onto our system, with feedback highlighting how our solution can frequently see ongoing CREST maintenance charges fall by as much as 50%.

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On February 22nd, Avenir Registrars welcomed Conroy Gold and Natural Resources plc and Karelian Diamond Resources plc as its latest clients. Both issuers are listed on AIM and the team at Avenir was delighted to facilitate this move, providing the companies with right-sized, next-generation registry solutions. We look forward to a long and successful relationship with both issuers.

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

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