Fintech Startup Tulipshare Launches Global Platform to Boost Retail Investor AGM Turnout
Fintech startup, Tulipshare, is launching a new platform to encourage more retail investors globally to take ownership of their investments and learn how to effectively use their shareholder rights to drive positive ethical change at some of the largest companies in the world.
Launching at the end of Q1 2023, Tulipshare’s ‘Pledge Your Share’ (PYS) platform will provide retail investors with early access to shareholder proposals allowing them to show their support ahead of a company’s annual general meeting (AGM). As Tulipshare’s brokerage platform is only available in the UK, PYS aims to unite retail investors around the world, allowing anyone who has exposure to US publicly listed companies to exercise their shareholder rights in a simple and transparent way, even if Tulipshare is not their primary broker.
The launch comes at a time when interest in shareholder activism is on the rise with the number of proposals increasing by 8% year on year with 868 proposals submitted in the 2022 proxy season. However, the percentage of proposals which find enough shareholder support to pass is still considerably low.
Users who sign up to PYS and pledge their shares to a specific campaign or shareholder proposal will receive notifications around Tulipshare’s engagements with target companies, whilst also learning how to vote their shares ahead of a company’s AGM. This will comprise of regular newsletters containing the information investors need to know about all their holdings’ ESG commitments, company news and campaign updates. Users will also have access to a breakdown of what’s on a company’s proxy statement as well as a timeline of key dates ahead of the AGM to make sure investors know how and when to vote their shares.
Antoine Argouges, CEO and Founder of Tulipshare, comments: “As the world’s first platform to combine activism with investing, Tulipshare was founded with the mission of uniting investors globally around important environmental and social issues and causes, generating impact where others will not. We want to help like-minded activists and investors, no matter the size of their investments, go beyond traditional protests or petitions and use their money to create lasting, positive change – the change traditional brokers, asset managers and institutional investors are failing to prioritise.”
A recent survey conducted by Tulipshare found that 71% of US retail investors think companies should be held accountable for the damage they cause to the environment and society, however, only 40% have actually voted at a company’s AGM before. Tulipshare’s research also found that only 47% of surveyed investors said they had received a notification from their broker or investment platform informing them that they could vote at a company’s upcoming AGM.
“Most people, due to no fault of their own, do not know that every share has shareholder rights attached to it. When those shareholder rights are utilised in the correct way, they can be used to drive positive change in a company. By engaging with publicly-held companies, Tulipshare will look to help investors push for stronger environmental and social commitments and ensure the companies we invest our money in are being responsibly managed by accountable leadership. Our team’s expertise in the shareholder activism space has uniquely positioned us as a bridge between the individuals who care about ESG issues and the companies who need to act.”
Institutional investors hold a massive amount of power in influencing what proposals will pass at a company’s AGM, yet many are voting against shareholder proposals in favour of supporting management decisions. This meant that in 2022, institutions supported only 1 in every 75 proposals submitted.
“While ESG investing as a blanket term has been under attack as of late, with increased rhetoric, legislation, and lawsuits, it is naive for any investor, asset manager or financial institution to claim zero responsibility for the transition to a low-carbon economy, or find duty in voting against proposals that would ensure basic human rights are met across some of the biggest supply chains in the world,” Argouges concludes.
Tulipshare’s biggest success to date was a proposal at Johnson & Johnson (J&J) demanding that the company stop the sale of their talc-based powder globally due to its links to multiple cancers. Following J&J’s AGM in 2021, the multinational corporation confirmed they will be taking the talc-based powder off the shelves worldwide. More recently, Tulipshare led a successful campaign among Apple shareholders, which saw the world’s largest company commit to enhancing their reporting on App Store takedowns.
Once launched, PYS will allow Tulipshare to allocate more resources to shareholder campaigns in other markets around the world, whilst also providing an opportunity for users to file shareholder proposals and promote their campaigns to more retail investors. Tulipshare currently partners and sponsors shareholder proposals in collaboration with groups like As You Sow, Oxfam, NRDC, City to Sea, Advance ESG, Trillium Asset Management and The Sierra Club.
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