Ires voting glitch may have hit up to 90% of institutional EGM ballots

Vision Capital, looking to unseat board and break up the business, wants answers on ‘unprecedented’ announcement

Up to 90 per cent of votes from institutional shareholders in Ires Reit ahead of a crunch investors’ meeting on Friday will have been lost as a result of a glitch on a voting platform used by the group.

The beleaguered board of Ireland’s largest private sector landlord has now urged shareholders to submit their voting intentions again, once prompted to by Broadridge Financial Services.

Broadridge is the biggest operator in the market for distributing shareholder voting materials. According to the company, its voting platform handles proxy voting services for more than 50 per cent of public companies and mutual funds globally. But, according to Ires, an error on its voting instruction platform saw all votes submitted up to the end of last week being cancelled.

“Broadridge is a system used by institutional shareholders to vote, and Ires has no role in the selection of Broadridge as a third-party processor,” a spokesman for the listed company said. It is the institutional shareholders individually who will have opted to use that service.


“We made an announcement to ensure that shareholders are aware they may need to recast their vote. It’s important that every shareholder is afforded the opportunity to validly vote at the EGM.”

Goodbody analyst John Cronin said on Monday: “We understand that about 90 per cent of institutional shareholder voting traffic is likely to be processed by Broadridge but it is unclear in relation to what percentage of shareholders had already voted who need to resubmit their votes.”

Shareholders are voting on motions put forward by Toronto-based activist investor Vision Capital to an extraordinary general meeting that seek to replace five directors, including chairman Declan Moylan and chief executive Margaret Sweeney, with candidates it is putting forward. The Canadian group is also looking for approval to proceed with a strategic review process that would result in a sale or break-up of the company within two years.

Vision chief executive Jeffrey Olin said his legal team had written to Ires and was awaiting a response on how the company plans to address the problem.

Mr Olin said it wanted Ires to explain why the votes had been cancelled. “We believe the cancellation of votes and the requirement for all shareholders to revote on such a short and urgent basis is seriously prejudicial to the integrity of the process and fairness of the result,” he said.

Describing it as a “bizarre development”, Mr Cronin said Broadridge/Ires would need to be able to confirm that all cancelled shareholder votes had been recast by the voting deadline of 11am on Wednesday to avoid question marks around the validity of the process.

He said a statement was also expected from Broadridge given that the Ires statement pointed to a problem at its end.

The issue does not affect votes that have been submitted by any other means for the EGM.

Dominic Coyle

Dominic Coyle

Dominic Coyle is Deputy Business Editor of The Irish Times