Open Channel - JSE MAGAZINE

Open Channel

The JSE’s newly launched ShareHub platform transforms communication between issuers and their shareholders

Open Channel

In forthcoming months, an intensive JSE campaign across multimedia platforms will be introducing issuers and their shareholders to ShareHub (www.sharehub.co.za), a web-based SA-owned platform that will transform communication between the two parties and resolve challenging problems associated with shareholder record-keeping.

Ursula Du Plooy, JSE Head: Issuer Services and Key Clients, describes ShareHub as revolutionary – not only because of the intensive scope of communication that is enabled, but also its ability to educate retail investors. ‘One of the greatest time-consuming tasks for share issuers has been how to effectively communicate with shareholders. Related to this is how to maintain an accurate shareholder database for an entire share register, which has proven almost impossible with innumerable shareholder email, contact number and postal address changes,’ she says. ‘Inaccurate share registers have thus become the bane of issuers who have to absorb the costs of updating shareholder information, and leaves them with a – as opposed to any – number of unclaimed dividends. With ShareHub, this onerous task moves to a centralised hub that holds the issuer’s database of shareholders, and which empowers shareholders to take control of their personal details, at no cost to that shareholder.’

The comprehensive marketing campaign behind ShareHub is directed at investors and expands across social media, radio, television and company websites. Its aim is to create awareness and encourage shareholders to create their own free and unique electronic ‘mail box’. Once registered and verified, each user can update their information, easily view their current shareholder status (including any unclaimed dividends), and access shareholder education.

Access to ShareHub is very simple. Voice animation guides users on how to register for their ‘box’, and provides step-by-step instruc-tions on how they can access communications posted by the issuer. Highly trained call-centre agents are also available to fully support users with any queries they may have. ‘After registration is when the magic truly happens,’ says Du Plooy. ‘Issuers now have the ability to communicate directly to an accurate shareholder database, and can use this facility to broadcast information relative to shareholdings, individually or en masse, be that bi-annual statements and AGM-related announcements and documents, along with the ability to obtain share trading education. Shareholders are also exposed to any unclaimed dividends they may not have been aware of.’

Backing the system is a full audit trail of shareholders accessing their boxes, which issuers can use for targeted campaigns that encourage shareholder participation. Brokers and asset managers are also tapping into the functionality of ShareHub for their clients, and with the rigorous technical infrastructure in ShareHub’s background, security is ensured, which maintains the integrity of the system. ShareHub is also an ever-expanding facility. ‘This is a product for the entire market and it’s constantly being enhanced to cater for all the players,’ says Du Plooy. ‘Recently we included the centralised self-registration and voting portal for shareholders who want to participate and vote at AGMs, and which the JSE can host on behalf of our listed companies. With the majority of AGMs now being hosted virtually, ShareHub will facilitate a greater participation than usual.’ The same concept is also currently under development for the ETF and unit trust industry – which, as Du Plooy points out, will similarly create many benefits for users, again with cost-savings. ‘This addition to the JSE basket of offerings means that not only are we responding to market needs by providing the tools and information required to invest smartly and efficiently, but also that the JSE is proactively facilitating future investment opportunities.’

By Kerry Dimmer
Image by Gallo/Getty Images