2018 was a productive year for both Mediant and the investor communications industry. Notably, we saw heightened discussion around reforming the proxy system to improve the shareholder experience. As we kick off 2019, we expect the year ahead to involve continued discussion and innovation around enhancing shareholder engagement and implementing technology solutions in the industry. Here are 3 things to look out for that confirm these trends:
- Empowering the shareholder. 2019 will be the year of the shareholder. As the communications landscape continues to evolve, the standard approach to shareholder engagement needs to evolve simultaneously. Companies can reach investors in more ways than ever, thanks to the increasing number of communications channels and platforms. This opens the opportunity for issuers, broker-dealers and funds to maintain a steady flow of communication with investors. Keeping shareholders consistently informed gives them choices and encourages their voices to be heard, empowering them to be active in proxy events.
- Reforming the proxy system. The past year involved renewed discussion of a potential proxy system overhaul, prompting an SEC roundtable of industry stakeholders including Mediant President & COO Sherry Moreland. A main takeaway from the proxy panel was that many of the issues stem from inefficient, outdated processes that can be streamlined with technology. In 2019, we hope and expect to see continued conversation around measured reform and leveraging digital solutions for improving the proxy system.
- Modernizing regulation. In 2018, we were encouraged to see the SEC embrace technology through measures such as Rule 30e-3 and the Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology. In the next year, we anticipate other industry regulators to follow suit and develop guidelines that enable, rather than hinder, innovation. As part of this, we expect to see regulating bodies engage with developers and providers for input on the best approach for setting these guidelines.
We’re looking forward to another exciting year of innovation in the industry. As always, we’re keeping an eye out for the emerging trends that will move the needle for investor communications and shareholder engagement – let us know what’s on your radar for 2019!