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Norconsult wanted to gain control over their shareholder registry and cut unnecessary manual tasks, so they could save time.

They achieved this by creating their own solution tailored to the company’s processes.

About Norconsult

Norconsult is one of the leading consultancy agencies in the Nordics and solves thousands of construction problems every year. They are 5.100 people all over the world, with an annual turnover of 7,4 billion NOK.

Challenge

Complex information spread across several systems

Norconsult AS is Norway’s largest employee-owned company, and is required by law to have full overview of share ownership and holdings. They are also required to keep a record of every transaction all the way back to the day the company was established in the 1980s, in addition to accurate number reporting to the state. The fact that they have over 5000 employees in Norconsult Group and 2/3 of them are owners spread over several countries, complicates the matter.

Their shareholder registry had been a challenge for them for a long time, and the challenges came bit by bit when an old internal system was outsourced and replaced in 2016.

Norconsult did not have an overview of all shareholders, and shares could sometimes be in limbo over longer periods of time. The main issues were:

  • Decentralization: Historical ownership was spread over several systems and archives.
  • Unwilling supplier: Processes related to purchases and sales of shares were done by a bank that wanted to shut down the business area, due to time-consuming and unprofitable management.
  • Loose control: GDPR regulations and foreign owners using nominee banks made Norconsult lose track of owners.

“Our systems were not user-friendly and difficult to maintain and administer. We required external assistance to complete any orders and had little and insufficient historical data for shareholders. We could not handle shareholders living outside of Norway equally. We could not even look up or see individual shareholders with shares placed in foreign custodian banks in the share register. In other words, the solution was due for an upgrade

– Kjetil Bakke, Head of Business Applications at Norconsult AS

Solution

Gaining control – by gathering everything

Norconsult searched for a viable solution that could handle the complexity they were facing. Several off-the-shelf and SaaS solutions were explored, but there were several needs that none of them could meet. Therefore, Norconsult chose to develop their own flexible solution with Genus using no-code.

Norconsult can now design their processes and make changes quickly as new needs will surface over the years. This ensures that they do not end up in the same predicament moving forward. Some processes in their solution:

  • An order pipeline: a system to handle received order from a trade module
  • Settlement engine: handling purchase and sales of shares, as well as support for reversals
  • Complete FIFO series of share ownership for any shareholder
  • Individual overview of shares for shareholders, with historical development
  • Integration with several payment solutions, like banking and Altinn
  • Follow up process for owners on documentation requirements
  • Corporate actions like dividend payouts
  • Reporting to the tax authority
  • General Assembly module, with agenda, documents and voting

Payment integration was a tricky component and had to be built on its own. Different options were explored. Some incorporate production and exchange of ISO20022 files, others SOAP or REST. Fortunately, the platform’s flexibility allowed Norconsult to use different providers and integrate with any service, so their needs were met.

The Genus platform runs on Kubernetes with automatic scalability, allowing Norconsult to easily scale up or down. The infrastructural needs might vary from having almost no traffic to handling thousands of users at the same time during a General Assembly.

“The collaboration has worked well from the start. After initial conversations, Genus was able to develop a good understanding of our needs. With competent and structured professionals, clear roles and close collaboration Genus has developed a very good product specifically adapted for Norconsult. Genus has delivered a timely and up-to-date solution that has made it easier to both manage the ownership model, and to an owner, which is in line with the project’s objectives.”

  • Ingeborg Holmen, Project Controller at Norconsult AS

Result

Cut risk, stay compliant and save hours with automation

Norconsult regained ownership of their shareholder register processes by introducing a state-of-the-art application called Aksjebok (Norconsult Stock). It was tested in April 2022 and approved by the General Assembly in May. The first payment testing the application is the 2021 dividends in May 2022, which also sends a report to the Tax Administration.

They now save 7 to 12 hours every month with automation, expecting this number to increase with additional tasks like new offers, dividends and annual reporting.

The new application also reduces the time of payout by 3-5 weeks when a share is sold. The payments now run continuously, instead of once a month like they used to.

Norconsult increased the number of voting shareholders with 15.47%, from an average of 33.53% to 49% in 2022.

“I expect that the participation at the General Assembly will continue to increase, since the new solution makes it easy to participate. More orders will go through, especially among our foreign shareholders. We are going to save a lot of time on ownership model administration with a better flow in the sales and offer processes, with all necessary data gathered in one place. Overall, we will save a lot of time on administration, we will get better control and predictability for a shareholder will increase. “

  • Kjetil Bakke, Head of Business Applications at Norconsult AS