Aequitec is a Swiss public limited company and provider of a modern share register solution that strengthens trust between shareholders and the companies. With the help of digital shares, companies can tap into new groups of investors and guarantee existing shareholders the legally clean documentation of their ownership. This is a prerequisite for independent asset managers to be able to invest in non-listed companies. We spoke with Alexander Schlegel, co-owner and founder of Swiss Finance Boutique AG, to learn how they use the Aequitec software to invest in non-listed stocks.
How have you invested in non-listed public companies so far?
In the past, we depended on the share ledger being kept clean and correct. Over time, however, we discovered that there was always a lot of effort to buy and transfer the shares. Therefore, the topic of unlisted shares was rather a niche topic, which we gladly implemented at the request of our customers. However, implementation on a broad scale was not possible due to the administrative hurdles.
How has Aequitec helped you as an independent asset manager?
Trust is the core of our customer relationship. In addition, we are always on the lookout for interesting investment opportunities in the private equity sector. In the past, we have often got to know very interesting companies, especially in the area of Swiss universities. However, in order to assure our clients that the shares in these companies are being managed properly, a professional share register solution is needed. Aequitec has managed to make the professional share management of public companies accessible to smaller private equity companies.
What convinced you to use Aequitec?
The team at Aequitec is highly professional and always listens to our concerns. For us, the accessibility to the decision-makers and the rapid response to our concerns are very important. In addition, their competencies in capital markets law, functioning of capital markets and technical knowledge are impressive.
What are the general challenges of investing in non-listed shares?
The shares of non-listed companies cannot simply be acquired via a stock exchange. We are always in talks with the company that creates the shares in the context of a capital increase or we buy shares from existing shareholders. However, this must be watertight, i.e. the transfer chain of the shares must be clearly traceable. It is not uncommon for such an audit to be time-consuming and is not our day-to-day business. We also appreciate the handling of communication, for example invitations to the Annual General Meeting, via the Aequitec app.
Can you recall an “aha” moment with Aequitec?
In addition to booking the shares into our customer custody accounts at different banks, it was certainly the opportunity to represent my customers at the general meetings in a relatively uncomplicated manner. The handling of proxies and voting via the application are very user-friendly and simple. This saves us a lot of time, which we use for dialog with the company founders. The most exciting thing for us in the long term is the Aequitec ecosystem, which in the future will be used to handle investor relations digitally.
What would you advise or recommend to companies when they consider using Aequitec?
As an independent asset manager, it has become more and more clear that there is no alternative to Aequitec, when investing in a promising start-up. Therefore we advise non-listed companies to use the platform at an early stage in order to be “investment ready” when the founding or a capital increase is to be carried out.