GILES RAFFERTY, Corporate Communications.
An interview with Ben Kay, Executive Director, Automic
At FIRST Advisers our shareholder analytics team works with all registries in the delivery of beneficial ownership analysis reports to our clients. We have watched the increasing penetration of Automic Group as a new player in the registry market in recent years and have spoken with Ben Kay, Executive Director and Founder of Automic to find out more about what drives this business to challenge a market dominated by two registries which are often, mistakenly, seen as the only game in town.
Automic has grown its share of the registry market in Australia extremely quickly, recently becoming the number three player by number of clients. Can you give some background on Automic?
The ASX and existing share registry providers have been operating on 20+ year old technology. We anticipated that the ASX in the near term would move to new technology and knew that client and shareholder demand for service and access to information were on the increase. We saw this as an opportunity and commenced investing and building a complete end-to-end share registry platform.
Automic has become the fastest growing registry provider in Australia for the past five years, due to significant investment in developing a highly innovative, cloud-based registry platform to support our superior service offering. We are also the only company in Australia that provides technology solutions integrated with a robust professional service offering, including legal, registry, company secretarial, governance and finance.
We now service 25% of all ASX listed companies, as well as a significant number of unlisted funds, unlisted companies, and larger private entities. Our goal is to be the number 1 registry provider in Australia by market-share in the next two years.
It is not purely organic growth, you’ve been acquisitive too. Can you talk about the balance between acquisitions and organic growth?
Approximately 25% of our registry business growth has been generated through acquisition.
Earlier this year we acquired the business of Security Transfer Australia (STA), a leading Perth-based share registry provider for ASX-listed and unlisted entities.
The transition of clients was completed over a weekend by a specialty transition team of 23 Automic people who migrated 165 clients and over 1M+ shareholders from the STA platform to Automic Group.
The transition volume is a new record for the Australian registry market and confirmed the capability of our technology and team.
You’ve referenced your technology offering as being your response to meeting the need in the market. What do you see are your key differentiators?
We’ve got a team of 20 developers all based in our Sydney office and they continue to challenge, I suppose, what has been regarded as industry norms and the status quo. They are keenly focused on the future and how we can deliver further automation and efficiencies for our clients and their shareholders.
Our cloud-based registry platform, was designed with the latest architecture and infrastructure capabilities. We wanted to empower clients with the ability to access every single page of our applications seamlessly from any device. This allows our clients real time access to information and a lot more transparency.
Our biggest differentiator is the ability to build and scale our technology. We are not stuck with legacy technology and as result can build to meet client requirements, including integration, reporting and analytics.
Being a cloud based business that manages important client information how do you make sure that information is secure?
Our ongoing commitment is to provide quality service and strict security standards. We operate to ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 certifications, giving our clients the confidence and reassurance that we work to the highest possible operating standards. As part of our security requirements, Automic has implemented a very stringent process to evaluate and select third-party services. It is a mandatory requirement that all partners have sophisticated capabilities, well-defined security practices and a demonstrated track record of availability.
We also host all of our client’s data, within Australia, using Amazon Web Services. It’s a no expense spared part of our business because it’s absolutely vital that we are confident in, and our clients are comfortable with, our security protocols.
You’ve mentioned that your share registry service isn’t your only offering, that you have complimentary technology and service offerings. Are you looking at diversifying into other areas?
Really, the core focus, moving forward is continuing to grow our registry market share. We’ve had strong growth but we’re not resting on our laurels. We want to continue to improve and grow our share of the registry market. The other services that we provide, including legal, company secretarial, finance and governance are also very important and will benefit from the ongoing growth of our client base – therein lies our business model.