SIX launches share platform for investors, activists

A former co-founder of Future Super has launched Sustainable Investment Exchange (SIX), a share trading platform that combines activism and investing.

SIX is co-founded by Adam Verwey, a former co-founder of Future Super, and Sophie Hall, an experienced product designer and startup adviser who was previously the product lead at ASX-listed Whispir

"What we're offering is the ability for anyone to join a shareholder activism campaign to Australia's listed companies," Verwey said. "We are currently running two campaigns on the platform - one on the forthcoming vote on the chairs of Santos and Woodside, and the other towards Woolworths and Coles to get them to stop sourcing their salmon from Macquarie Harbour, which is currently leading to the imminent extinction of the Maugean Skate."

SIX is working in collaboration with The Reichstein Foundation, Bob Brown Foundation, Ethinvest, Ethical Investment Advisers and NGOs Ekō, Environment Tasmania, Neighbours of Fish Farming and Living Oceans Society on the campaign to change the Woolworths and Coles salmon supply chain to save the Maugean skate from extinction. On its first two campaigns SIX is collaborating with groups whose supporter base together represent over 2 million potential shareholders.

"The importance in what we're building is that it allows people to play to their strength," Verwey said. "NGOs have an appetite for running shareholder advocacy campaigns, they just haven't had the resources to run them.
"NGOs can focus on the pointy end of the campaigning. By working with SIX, they're getting the message out there and allowing SIX to do the admin side of collecting, collating shareholders to getting investor support from institutions, and also going through the process of proposing shareholder resolutions if that is the route.
"We found the barriers to successful shareholder campaigns range start with getting and coordinating 100 shareholders in companies that ethical investors don't always own. Once you've got those shareholders, there's a very particular piece of expertise in being able to go into company boardrooms, drafting something that's appropriate for a shareholder resolution, which has specific criteria in Australia."
SIX notes that Australia's resolution requirements are some of the world's most stringent, requiring 5% of shares or 100 shareholders to file. At $1.54T, Australia's responsible investment sector is a powerful block, but the effort required to gather shareholder support and file resolutions is out of reach for most investors.

"In the last two years alone, only 10 Australian companies received a shareholder resolution on social and environmental issues, compared to 340 resolutions in 2023 alone in the US," Verwey said. "We want to double the number of companies that Australians bring ESG resolutions to in 2024."

SIX will go live in share trading in March with a beta mode, Verwey said. There will be a minimum trade size of $500 and minimum trade cost of $9.90 and Verwey said trade costs are "in the middle" for industry standards.
"It will be more cost competitive than the big banks are," Verwey said. "Our users are likely going to be coming from a big bank broker or they're going to be trading for the first time. It's also really important to note that people that trade on SIX will own their own shares and have their own HIN - this is not fractional investing."

Read more: Future SuperColesSustainable Investment ExchangeWoolworthsAdam VerweyBob Brown FoundationEkōEnvironment TasmaniaEthical Investment AdvisersEthinvestOceans SocietyReichstein FoundationSantosSophie HallWoodside