Topic Results: Institutional investors

November 17, 2020

Corporate Purpose, ESG, stakeholders: what’s the deal?

Since the publication in 1932 of Berle and Means’ The Modern Corporation and Private Property, “capitalist” societies have been engaged in a forlorn quest for an appropriate definition of the role, justification and “raison d’être” of large corporations. Except for the legal fiction of shareholders as owners, corporations of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, were […]

January 10, 2020

The Angels of Market Efficiency

Mr. Ben Axler, Chief Investment Officer and founder of Spruce Point Capital responds (Financial Post, December 17th, 2019) to my article on short sellers of his kind (Financial Post, December 13th, 2019). He trots out the worn-out argument that short sellers only reveal the sordid truths hidden in the bosom of corporations. In short, “professional” […]

December 13, 2019

Limiting the damage of short-sellers

When any individual investor or fund comes to the conclusion after careful analysis that a company is over-valued, it may very well sell short the shares of that company. Fair enough. If the analysis proves right, facts on the ground will confirm it eventually and the stock price will drop. But that’s not the game plan […]

November 22, 2019

RONA: a tragedy in three acts

Act I: In July 2012, the American corporation, Lowe’s, makes some noise about acquiring RONA, the Quebec-based chain of hardware stores. Coming on the eve of an election campaign in Quebec, the prospect of a foreign acquisition of a “strategic” Quebec company generates strong reactions and a sort of political consensus: “The Quebec government must […]

September 20, 2019

The Business Roundtable on “The Purpose of a Corporation” Back to the future!

In September 2019, CEOs of large U.S. corporations have embraced with suspect enthusiasm the notion that a corporation’s purpose is broader than merely “creating shareholder value”. Why now after 30 years of obedience to the dogma of shareholder primacy and servile (but highly paid) attendance to the whims and wants of investment funds? Simply put, […]

May 2, 2019

CPPIB backs investor group in bid to end Bombardier’s dual-class share structure

CPPIB is backing a proposal to end Bombardier Inc.’s dual class share structure and remove the control of the founding family, forcing the company onto the defensive as it hosts investors for its annual meeting Thursday. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which oversees assets worth about $368-billion and is one of Bombardier’s 25 biggest shareholders, […]

December 19, 2018

The Case for Dual-Class of Shares

There are now 69 dual-class companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, down from 100 in 2005. Only 23 Canadian companies went public since 2005 with a dual-class of shares while 16 of the 100 have since converted to a single-class and another 38 have disappeared since 2006 for other reasons (acquisitions, mergers, bankruptcies and […]

December 7, 2017

How a proposed new ‘right’ for shareholders could badly damage corporate boards

There is a frenzied rush to get/give a new ‘right” to shareholders, the right to put up their own nominees for board membership. Boards of directors, so goes a dominant opinion, are not to be fully trusted to pick the right kind of people as directors or to shift the membership swiftly as circumstances change, […]

September 7, 2017

Dow Jones Erred By Going Nuclear on Dual-Class Shares

In July 2017, Dow Jones, goaded by the reaction to Snapchat having gone public with a class of shares without voting rights, announced that, after extensive consultation, it had decided to henceforth eliminate companies with dual-class shares from its indices, in particular the S&P 500 Index. Over the last 10 years, putting money in passive […]

August 24, 2017

Dow-Jones goes nuclear on dual class of shares

In July of this year, Dow-Jones, goaded by the reaction to Snapchat having gone public with a class of shares without voting rights, announced that, after extensive consultation, it had decided to henceforth eliminate dual-class companies from its indices, in particular the S&P 500 Index. Over the last ten years, putting money in passive index funds has become […]

June 29, 2017

The CEO pay crusade

For a few months there, 2016’s political earthquakes seemed to signal a power shift away from the 1%. What started with the Brexit vote escalated when Donald Trump won the White House. Now, as we barrel toward an apocalypse incited by ill-advised presidential tweets, all that anti-elite anger has somehow been forgotten—and with it, any […]

November 18, 2016

Can America’s Companies Survive America’s Most Aggressive Investors?

“WILMINGTON, Del.—Ron Ozer was thrilled to get a job with DuPont, the two-centuries-old chemical company, when he finished his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1990. It was the place to go for young, ambitious chemists; it offered salary and benefits so generous that some people called it “Uncle Dupey.” For 26 years, he invented things for […]

April 21, 2016

Two flawed studies about controlled corporations by ISS and IRRCI

The performance of controlled companies has been a contentious issue. For different reasons, various parties have worked hard at convincing the investor class that capital structures other than one-share, one-vote would produce inferior results for shareholders. Consequently, most investment funds frown upon such structures, at best tolerate them, and, at worst, have adopted policies of non-investment in these companies. […]

April 20, 2016

Japan discovers “good” corporate governance, American style

Not so long ago in an age when they were eating the lunch of American corporations, the Toyotas, Hitachis, Sonys, Canon, Hondas were governed in the worst possible way, at least according to the canons of American governance. Their boards were made up almost exclusively of corporate insiders, with no independent directors, no diversity, no […]

January 26, 2016

Hedge Fund Activism: A Guide for the Perplexed

The message of the Dow/DuPont merger and split up is simple: No firm is today “too big to target.” Activists can see the transaction as evidence that, even in the rare case where they lose a proxy fight (as they did at DuPont last year in a squeaker), the handwriting is still on the wall, […]

December 28, 2015

Who should pick corporate directors?

“Yvan Allaire and François Dauphin cogently analyze the costs and risks of proxy access, arguing that “Anyone believing that this process is likely to produce stronger boards in the long run needs to consider anew the calculus of current and prospective board members, the actions, likely dysfunctional, of people facing the humiliation (and economic loss) […]