Capital markets News

AST launches blockchain solution to manage private shareholder data

share registration management administration

AST Private Company Solutions (AST PCS) has officially launched the Astrella platform to enable private firms to manage capitalization tables and other equity ownership data such as employee stock plan ownership using enterprise blockchain and artificial intelligence. 

While there are quite a few blockchain solutions for issuing digital or tokenized stocks, the Astrella platform offers an administration platform for traditional shares in private firms.

AST PCS is a unit of U.S.-based financial services firm AST. The parent company has a long history of acting as an administrator including as share registrar, offering proxy services and the like. This is its foray into the private company sector.

Astrella will enable privately held firms to use services such as analytics, issue securities and awards, manage stock management plans, and financial reporting. 

Increasingly private firm shares are involved in secondary market platforms and shareholders leverage their shares. The solution is targeting the full range of private companies, including small seed stage firms, unicorns and portfolios managed by private equity firms.

“Today, spreadsheets are managing trillions of investor wealth and have simply not kept up with the increasing complexity of private companies’ cap tables, potentially costing investors significant returns at exit,” said Carine Schneider, AST PCS president.

“AST is already the industry-leading provider to public companies for initial public offering services, shareholder communications and ownership data management,” said Marty Flanigan, CEO of AST.

“In the PCS context, our clients were asking us to further leverage that expertise, and develop a more sophisticated and secure solution that supports all private companies globally and including private equity-backed companies and LLCs, as a natural and logical extension of what we do.”

A few months ago, another AST unit, AST Fund Solutions, launched ProxyIQ, a blockchain-based proxy campaign management solution. 

Another company that is active in the same sector is Broadridge, which has a range of blockchain interests, including for proxy voting, for addressing the EU Shareholder Rights Directive, and to manage private equity portfolios.