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Article 3a of the SRD II introduces a new European regime on the right of listed companies to know the personal data of their shareholders. The new regime tackles the technical and legal obstacles that hinder shareholder identification on a cross-border basis. These obstacles are closely connected with the holding mechanisms of immobilised and dematerialised shares, and with the legal qualification of the intermediaries in the holding chain. The protection of data pertaining to natural persons also plays a role in shaping the new regime. Shareholder identification lends itself to different purposes, among which the SRD II considers the exercise of shareholder rights and shareholder engagement. However, the ability of these purposes to restrict the use of the identification mechanism is questionable. Whether shareholder identification will remain a complex matter in the future will partially depend on the development of new blockchain-based technologies in the trading and post-trading industry.

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