SWIFT to Test Blockchain Tech for Shareholder Proxy Voting

March 19, 2019

SWIFT has announced a new blockchain proof-of-concept (PoC) for electronic voting through the adoption of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in the Asia Pacific.

To be trialed during the first six months of 2019, the PoC is being conducted in cooperation with securities software provider SLIB, Singapore Exchange (SGX), DBS Bank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank.

According to the announcement, SWIFT will pilot the PoC in its DLT sandbox. HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank will participate, whereas DBS and SGX are involved as both participants and issuers.

The goal is to simplify the management of shareholder meetings and proxy voting, which are, more often than not, time-consuming and resource intensive. It is also common that a shareholder’s wishes need to be communicated through and with multiple parties when voting needs to take place during a listed company meeting.

Lisa O’Connor, Managing Director of Securities, Treasury & Standards for Asia Pacific at SWIFT, said, “The expression of shareholders’ rights is often limited today by non-transparent, complex and inefficient paper-based processes. The emergence of blockchain technology is a new opportunity to look at improving these processes.”

She added,

It is also an opportunity for Swift to offer flexibility in the adoption of this new technology through the re-use of ISO 20022 based solutions together with a high level of security and resilience that our industry requires.

According to the official announcement, the PoC will test the ability of SWIFT to host third-party applications in its sandbox, while confirming the use of ISO 20022 as the foundation for standardizing for Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that expose DLT node contents to parties with direct access to the ledger.

In January 2019, SWIFT introduced a PoC to trial a new gateway to interlink trade and e-commerce platforms with gpi – the new standard in cross-border payments. Supported by financial institutions around the world, including more than 50 of the world’s top banks, the SWIFT global payments innovation (gpi) seeks to transform the cross-border payments landscape.

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