Topic Results: Proxy Advisors

July 31, 2019

Finding Friends is Hard: Long-Term Investors’ Relationship with Proxy Advisors, Activists and Private Equity Funds

Institutional investors are howling for US public companies to focus more on the long-term.[1]  This is unsurprising. Long-term focused companies produce significantly better results over time, reporting far greater revenue growth with less volatility, far higher levels of economic profit, and greater total return to shareholders.[2] So if you are holding stock for a long time, a […]

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, […]

April 21, 2019

As vote challenging Bombardier’s share structure faces defeat, Médac calls for legislative reform

Investor-rights group Médac acknowledges its bid to end Bombardier Inc.’s dual-class share system is destined to fail, but says it has no better option to trigger a discussion on what it sees as a critical issue. The Montreal-based organization is calling for changes to the laws governing Canadian companies that give extra voting rights to […]

June 21, 2018

Why Canadian CEO pay has soared over the past decade

When shareholders of Canada’s big banks opened their proxy voting forms in early 2008, they found a striking new proposal on the ballot. Submitted by a small ethical mutual fund company, the resolution called on banks to give investors an annual vote on how executive pay was designed. Bank boards initially opposed the motion as […]

April 5, 2018

It’s hunting season, as activists and regulators open fire on Canada’s businesses

The corporate hunting season is officially underway, an annual ritual during which shareholder parties, armed with proxies and other weapons of democratic destruction, set out to bag executives and directors for failing to deliver. The list of potential corporate failings is all encompassing. Anything and everything is a target, from executive compensation to diversity policies […]

April 5, 2018

Executive pay: time for change ?

A highly standardized process leads to yearly executive pay packages which combine salary, bonuses, stock options, restricted stock grants, performance share units, retirement benefits. The full assemblage will also include formal contracts covering change-of-control situations, termination conditions, etc.  Only the quanta of the compensation package vary from firm to firm. Whenever “long-term” performance objectives are […]

November 17, 2017

Pershing Square, Ackman and CP Rail: A Case of Successful ”Activism” ?

Pershing Square, an activist hedge fund owned and managed by William Ackman, began hostile maneuvers against the board of CP Rail in September 2011 and ended its association with CP in August 2016, having netted a profit of $2.6 billion for his fund. This Canadian saga, in many ways, an archetype of what hedge fund […]

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 […]

September 13, 2016

Making Say-on-Pay Vote Binding: A Good Idea?

The practice of a non-binding say-on-pay vote by shareholders spread quickly and broadly. It seemed that, finally, shareholders would be given the opportunity to express their dissatisfaction with outrageous or ill-conceived compensation packages. The practice, at first, was voluntary with companies agreeing to submit their compensation policies to a vote. Then, as the number of […]

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. […]

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) […]

December 8, 2015

Is 2015, Like 1985, an Inflection Year?

In an October 2015 post, I posed the question: Will a New Paradigm for Corporate Governance Bring Peace to the Thirty Years’ War? As we approach the end of 2015, I thought it would be useful to note some of the most cogent recent developments on which the need, and hope, for a new paradigm […]

November 30, 2015

Who Should Pick Board Members?

There is a frenzied rush for shareholders to get a new ‘right”, 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. […]

November 4, 2015

IGOPP’s Policy Paper on Proxy Access by Shareholders to the Director Nomination Process

The board of the Institute for Governance (IGOPP) unanimously approved a Policy paper on Proxy Access by Shareholders to the Director Nomination Process. The prerogative to nominate the members of the board, which has historically been the sole responsibility of boards of directors, has now been challenged by institutional funds determined to acquire the right, […]

October 5, 2015

Will a New Paradigm for Corporate Governance Bring Peace?

The decades-long conflict that is currently raging over short-termism and activist hedge funds strikes me as analogous to the Thirty Years’ War of the 17th Century, albeit fought with statistics (“empirical evidence”), op-eds and journal articles rather than cannon, pike and sword. I decided, after some thirty-six years in the front line of the army […]

June 23, 2015

Activism, Short-Termism, and the SEC

Today, I’d like to pull together some themes that I have been thinking, speaking, and writing about during my tenure and address them more holistically. Specifically, I’d like to share with you some thoughts about shareholder activism, short-termism, and the SEC. I. What is activism? Like many others, I view activism broadly: it is simply […]