By Imani Moise

(Reuters) – Citigroup Inc said on Tuesday it was spinning off its investor communication platform Proxymity after a strategic round of funding from other banking giants.

Proxymity will become its own entity after raising $20.5 million from investors including JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of New York Mellon Corp, HSBC Holdings plc, State Street Corp and Deutsche Bank AG, Citigroup said.

The London-based platform streamlines investor communication functions like proxy voting and shareholder disclosures. These have become increasingly critical as the coronavirus pandemic forces annual shareholder meetings to digital formats for the first time.

“Proxymity has an opportunity to re-engineer the way investor communications works,” said Chris Rowland, global head of custody at JPMorgan.

Virtual shareholder meetings were growing, even before the coronavirus outbreak. In 2019, 248 U.S. companies held virtual meetings in that year’s corporate voting season, up 17% from the year before, according to consulting firm PwC.

Proxymity, which has so far mostly operated in Europe and Australia, has already been put to use in over 3,000 shareholder meetings, Chief Executive Dean Little said.

Investor services technology companies Computershare and Clearstream were part of the Proxymity fundraising round.

(Reporting by Imani Moise; Editing by Tom Brown)