Currently, a listed company only knows about its small shareholders if they hold registered shares or if they participate in the general meeting. In future, listed companies will be able to request the details of each individual shareholder, including those who hold their shares in a securities account.

Listed companies can initiate a simple shareholder identification request via e.g. Euroclear Belgium or another service provider. All intermediaries in the chain will then be obliged to disclose the details of the individual shareholders via a standardised form. No specific justification is needed to make the request. Nor is there a limit to the number of requests that a company can initiate. However, the intermediaries required to provide the information may charge a (cost-covering) fee.

In this way, your listed company can gain insight into its entire shareholder base. It can adapt its communication or roadshows accordingly in order to communicate in an even more targeted way. The company can also analyse the impact of certain corporate events or announcements on its shareholding structure. Shareholder identification also makes it possible to monitor stake-building. It will also help the company to engage in dialogue with its (activist) shareholders, e.g. to obtain support for certain proposals put to the vote at the general meeting or to organise the defence against a hostile takeover bid.

Although this right to shareholder identification has already been in existence since 3 September 2020, its practical implementation has fallen behind. The shareholder identification platform of Euroclear Belgium, for instance, will only become operational by the end of November.

Shareholder identification will, in any case, become an indispensable tool for investor relations departments.