Investor Communications Japan (ICJ) announced today that the 400th issuer has joined its electronic proxy voting platform, bringing the benefits of this fully electronic service to even more shareholders in Japan and globally. ICJ is a joint venture of Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc., (NYSE:BR) the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc., (TSE) and the Japan Securities Dealers Association (JSDA).
In operation since December 2005, ICJ provides investors in Japan, and institutional shareholders globally, the ability to receive notifications of Japanese shareholder meetings and return voting decisions directly to issuers and their agents.
Of the 100 largest listed companies by capitalization in Japan, 96 use ICJ’s proxy solutions platform, and among companies with a market capitalization of over JY 200 billion (US$2.5 billion) over 75% leverage the platform. Additionally, well over 50% of companies with foreign ownership ratios above 20% use ICJ, highlighting the value that these companies place on facilitating the proxy process for all their shareholders, including non-Japanese shareholders.
ICJ provides straight-through-processing (STP) that has greatly improved the flow and transparency of information to shareholders and back to issuers, increasing the timeliness of materials delivery to shareholders for review from days to weeks. The unique process also provides assurances to all participants that votes cast, both in Japan and globally, reach the shareholder meeting in a timely and accurate manner and are cast at the meeting as directed by shareholders.
Under the traditional paper process, shareholders had only days or even hours to process thousands of proxies across hundreds of accounts, and make decisions on often hundreds if not thousands of shareholder meetings held over a few days in late June every year. The new process allows this voting to take place not only across a longer timeframe, but through Broadridge’s sophisticated Internet voting and recordkeeping tool, ProxyEdge®.
“I am thrilled that ICJ has reached 400 issuers using its service. This is not only an important milestone for ICJ, it also highlights the growing importance of good shareholder communication to improved corporate governance, and an acknowledgment that the use of this platform provides a quick and efficient means of improving such communications. I also expect that as the ICJ service continues to grow and offer expanded services it will not only reinforce the overall attraction of Japanese securities markets but will also serve to strengthen and enhance its international competitiveness,” said Atsushi Saito, President and CEO of the TSE.
“Reaching 400 issuers is a great milestone for ICJ, one which has been achieved through the hard work of its staff and the support of our partners in this venture, the TSE and JSDA,” said Richard J. Daly, CEO, Broadridge Financial Solutions. “ICJ is an excellent example of what can be achieved when all parties in a complicated process work together for the benefit of the key participants – in this case issuers and shareholders. Not only have service levels to the various constituents improved dramatically but costs have been reduced.”