Abby Cowart - January 2016

Abby Cowart
Executive Director
Shareholder Services Association


As the first ever Executive Director, what are some of your short-term and long-term objectives? 

My first day of being the full-time Executive Director was November 9th. Immediately on my first day, I began reaching out to seasoned individuals who I have known for many years. I want to grow our membership with not only new individuals within the industry but also serve those who have been in the shareholder services industry for some time. This will allow a great mixture of experience and for the ability to have a mentoring program for new professionals starting out in the Shareholder Services industry. As a way of increasing membership and also reaching those already in the industry, I plan to work hard to become a resource for transfer agents and their client advisory boards to help them in their respective mission and objectives that align with the SSA’s objectives. Creating a full circle among all industry professionals regardless of an issuer’s transfer agent or service provider is a common goal of the SSA. In order to get started on the right foot, we first revised and updated the SSA’s mission statement which will be debuting soon and will continue to encompass efforts for greater industry education and advocacy while expanding to include more opportunities for career development of shareholder services professionals.

On a long-term scale, I would like to see the SSA offer a shareholder services professional certification program. It is time for the shareholder services professionals, who work tirelessly to ensure the regulatory requirements are met for their corporations and also strive to implement initiatives and programs that deliver supreme shareholder satisfaction, be recognized and valued.  We believe such certification will serve to increase knowledge and professionalism of shareholder service providers and enhance their career development opportunities. Growing membership will also be a staple priority for me and it will continue to be both a short and long term goal. The opportunity to venture into uncharted territories where shareholder services professionals are not being reached through current methods also exists.  The SSA strongly believes that each new member brings a unique perspective that serves to expand our association’s collective knowledge and our overall effectiveness.  

However, my number one goal and desire above all is that the SSA be known as the premier knowledge and educational resource and advocacy association working tirelessly to enable shareholder services professionals in North America to successfully meet their responsibilities and obligations to their shareholders on behalf of their respective companies.

Prior to becoming the Executive Director, you were an active member of the SSA. What were some of the benefits you took away as a member?

Almost 10 years ago while working in a brokerage firm, I was offered the opportunity to go to TSYS and work in the Investor Relations Department. This two-person department required that I be responsible for all retail and registered TSYS shareholders. My knowledge of shareholder services was limited to my interactions as a brokerage employee. 

Within my initial introductions and meetings with TSYS’ transfer agent, I was told by my relationship manager that I needed to join the SSA. Through this membership, I learned every aspect of my role as a shareholder services professional. This included best practices, escheatment policies and guidelines, cost basis, RFPs, medallion guarantees and transfers. 

A little bit about me

I was born and raised in the Columbus, Georgia area. I attended Columbus State University where I received a Bachelor of Science. To further my education, I attended Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia where I earned my Master of Business Administration with a focus on Leadership.

I currently reside in Midland, Georgia with my husband Jimmy, my daughter Samantha and my yorkie pup, Lucy.

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