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Dividends and innovation

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Equiniti is furthering its expertise in dividends to the benefit of our corporate clients and their shareholders

“What we try to do is add a bit of sparkle wherever possible,” says Lianne Shoebridge, Senior Manager of Payments and Reconciliations at Equiniti. “Dividends are the client’s opportunity to reach out to their shareholders, so we work very closely with them around what messages they want and need to communicate, as well as consider how we can improve the way dividends work for them and their shareholders.” 

Lianne’s team within Equiniti Investment Solutions ensures that the dividend schemes are executed in a seamless manner. Equiniti paid £26.8 billion in dividends in 2014 and carried out more than 1,200 dividend tasks in the same year. To further strengthen its position as the dividend expert, Equiniti has recently improved the way it works with clients alongside implementing fundamental improvements in communication. 

“We are unique from an operational perspective as Equiniti’s dividend planners have direct contact and face-to-face meetings regarding dividend planning and payment with clients, which adds value and assurance to both parties,” continues Lianne. Registration Services Director, Mark Bullen, whose team focuses on the development of existing and new services, adds: 

“We have invested in and greatly enhanced our communication capabilities. This, aligned with improvements in our processes (with the shareholder's user experience at the forefront), increases positive shareholder response. For example, in the last three years, we have worked successfully with clients to repatriate something in the region of £70 million of unclaimed dividend monies to shareholders. We have worked hard to help shareholders understand their position and easily claim their monies.”

Equiniti is working more closely with clients than ever before. “We have moved confidently forward and always look for where further value can be added,” says Lianne. “We’ve developed a real reputation for deepening relationships between us and our clients by better understanding their challenges and adding value through our solutions.”

A recent example of this is the new Dividend Plus scheme recently launched with Marks & Spencer. Mark Bullen approached M&S with the concept and by working in partnership through many creative scenarios, established, developed, refined and launched a product that drives greater value for M&S shareholders, the company and Equiniti. Together, we have introduced the most significant change to the way dividends will be paid that the Registration industry has witnessed in decades, probably since the advent of Scrips and Drips. 

Anthony Clarke, Deputy Secretary at M&S, says: “Our private investors are also some of our most loyal customers and we’re continually looking at how we can best engage this important group of stakeholders. We’ve listened carefully to their feedback and believe that working with Mark and the team at Equiniti we’ve identified a simple mechanic that rewards their investment in the company. Its early days but take-up has been positive.”

Innovation is another area which Equiniti is investing and developing in. “Dividend Plus isn’t the only dividend related initiative, we are looking closely at a range of new payment alternatives, and only by offering shareholders more choice will we entice them away from cheque payments,” says Mark. “Working with Brighton University, a recognised Global leader in academic research into best in class innovation, we are working to understand what a world-class innovation process is. Utilising newly enhanced skills and combining them with our Registration and technology expertise makes me very confident about our innovation pipeline and the benefits it will bring for our clients and their shareholders.” 

But what remains at the heart of all these changes are our people. As Lianne says, the Dividend planning team has a combined 400 years of experience in delivering dividends: “The team is incredibly passionate about delivering services seamlessly. They always do their very best. The dividend payment has huge reputational consequences for our corporate clients, and the whole team understands the importance of the perfect, seamless dividend payment.”

If you wish to further discuss anything in this article, please contact your relationship manager.

E-Zine issue: May 2015
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