Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Governance, fund voting, decision-making...

Just a few links today. Firstly this speech by corporate governance veteran Ira Millstein is well worth a read. It really gets into the problem of how changes in the capital markets are undermining some of the key assumptions of the corporate governance 'movement' (for want of a better word). Here's a taster:

Although all the new organizations may indeed be technically defined as shareholders, what does each of them value? What is shareholder value between one investor who will profit from driving the share price down, another who wants to take the company private, another looking for instant cash, and one more who is thinking about long-term growth? How do boards serve many masters? Can they do so? Which shareholders? With what intentions? What we are now learning is that the notion that directors owe a fiduciary duty to be “fair” to all shareholders is turning out to be a quite imprecise guide to directors. We are entering new territory.

Secondly this report by the Investment Company Institute - the trade body for mutual funds - is worth a look. It's an attempt to defend the record of mutual fund voting in the wake of a number of critical reports. However the main drawback is that it only provides aggregate voting stats for funds as a whole. Any voting geek will tell you that the real story is the variation between fund managers.

Finally I just stumbled across this article on my recent topic of why people change their minds. It also links to this piece which also looks interesting.

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