Hong Kong Stock Exchange

Australia’s Link Group launches new digital service for Hong Kong corporate registry

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 August, 2018, 5:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 August, 2018, 5:00am

Australian financial services provider Link Group unveiled Wednesday a digital corporate registry service designed to facilitate efficient communication between Hong Kong-listed companies and shareholders.

The Australian group is seeking to digitise Hong Kong’s predominantly paper-based shareholder registry at a time when compliance pressures are on the rise globally.

“We are seeing an increasingly connected group of institutional and retail shareholders who expect and demand better communication from their investee companies, so they can better exercise their minority shareholder rights,” according to Paul Gardiner, CEO of Link’s corporate markets division.

“We hope to encourage better corporate governance, better shareholder engagement by listed companies, and help these companies comply with the regulatory compliance pressures they now face.”

Gardiner said Hong Kong’s buoyant fundraising market, which has seen 106 company listing in the past six months, was a major drawing card.

“Hong Kong is the market everybody needs to be in, so we feel this is the right time to launch,” he said.

Link Group looks to Asia for growth strategy

The new service, Link Markets Service, helps companies to foster better shareholder engagement and perform registry services like dividend payments and annual general meetings. It comes under a platform, Miraqle, which includes Link’s other digital products already in operation in Hong Kong. Link has operated two other investor relations services geared towards equity and bonds in the city since 2008, namely Orient Capital and D.F.King. The cost of the service depends on company size and the number of investors.

“Companies can use the technology to drive better shareholder engagement and obtain intelligence on issues such as how to improve voter participation, better disseminate company information, and get a better understanding of their interaction with their shareholders,” said Vivek Aranha, director, Link Market Services, Hong Kong.

A localised app will also allow investors to easily access information such as announcements, notices and proxy forms.

Current regulations in Hong Kong do not allow online voting for virtual AGM meetings, but Link is ready to provide related technology when regulations change, said Aranha.

Link is the only registry to provide technology for virtual AGM meetings, he said, adding that the mobile app to support virtual is currently in use in Australia and New Zealand

“It is all about transparency in shareholder engagement, and we don’t see that at the moment in Hong Kong. The technology hasn’t been put into the market to make that happen,” he said.

Link currently has over 10,000 clients globally, servicing over 35 million individual stakeholders from 18 jurisdictions.