Defiant against an era of ubiquitous electronic communications, the police force of Odisha, India maintains the world’s last carrier pigeon service with an entourage of 153 birds.
Whether for reasons of nostalgia or inertia, humans tend to cling to traditional and familiar technologies. In the U.S., where more than 90 percent of adults use the internet and 89 percent file federal taxes electronically, according to the IRS, regulations continue to require paper and post for investor communications.
Against this presumption, most investors opt for electronic delivery, or e-delivery, of information related to their holdings. According to SIFMA, the preference for paper fell from 49 percent in 2015 to 36 percent in 2018. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift from physical to digital interactions; the majority of shareholder meetings and related communications were transmitted electronically in 2020.
Customized and Interactive
E-delivery has many advantages. Communication via email, website, mobile app, or text message is faster and more secure than physical delivery through the postal service. It can also be much more engaging and enhances the shareholder experience; investors can review and engage with documents when, where and in whatever format they choose.
Financial industry and investment adviser trade groups are urging the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to reflect this reality and make e-delivery the default for investor communications. However, many issuers and brokers are already going further and offering interactive communications.
As part owners in a company, shareholders are entitled to vote on its direction, but on average, less than 30 percent exercise this right. Key reasons are a perceived lack of information to make informed decisions, a sense that the voting process is difficult, and a belief that retail shareholders have limited influence.
Mediant helps issuers and brokers combat these assumptions and deliver on their goals of raising shareholder participation and engagement. We work with our clients to deliver regulatory and transactional communications materials in multiple formats including email and mobile, mobile app, as well as traditional mail. Many of our clients also opt for interactive communications features such as searchable documents, video content, digital and Amazon’s Alexa voting that make it easy and enjoyable for shareholders to actively participate.
A Commitment to Shareholders
For firms making the shift from paper to e-delivery, or taking the next step with interactive investors, our approach is to smooth the path to an efficient and compliant communications program. That means a single point of contact guiding the way forward and dedicated experts able to navigate regulations, such as Rule 30e-3.
While we may not extend to carrier pigeons, we are committed to providing a flexible and inclusive approach to investor communications. Whether that means fully digital and interactive experiences or maintaining traditional practices for shareholders comfortable with the familiar, we share our clients’ ambitions to increase shareholder participation and engagement.
Contact us for more information about our solutions.