Do clients care about their shareholder voting rights?

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Clients might reassess their investment strategy if they realize they can exercise shareholder voting rights.

Many investors aren’t voting, said Jeffrey Cruttenden on a panel at Source Media’s 2018 In|Vest conference in New York. But Cruttenden, who is the co-founder of Acorns, a mobile app that invests users’ spare change for them, is hoping to change that with his new venture.

Sometimes, investors don’t vote because it’s not an easy process, he told the conference. Often, it’s because they don’t know they can, especially the younger demographic. Older investors tend to be more diligent about voting and attending shareholder meetings, he said.

Cruttenden will this summer launch SAY, a mobile platform he said will transform investors’ experience with their portfolios.

SAY will simplify investors’ voting experience and company engagement in the stocks they hold stakes in, all from a mobile device.

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“If people are investing on their smartphone, they should be able to access every aspect of it, not just the trading aspect, but the voting and governance aspect,” Cruttenden said.

Lines of communication between investors and companies are often insufficient and complicated, said Cruttenden. While individuals signal their investor badges with pride at shareholder meetings at companies like Berkshire Hathaway, other companies make it a difficult experience, with complicated paperwork and frequent emails.

If it’s easier for investors to see if they’re eligible to vote on company issues, Cruttenden said they are more are likely to do so.

“It’s not just a forum to yell,” Cruttenden said of SAY. “It’s a forum to be heard, and also may require listening.”

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