Thursday, 28 May 2009

That ownership issue again...

I regularly bang on about the the 'ownership' problem in the investor company relationship. Lately I've found myself in the bizarre situation where this issue has actually become a topic of significant debate. I'm not claiming any insight here, as in the bit of the world I inhabit other people have been making these points for some time, but it is striking to now find an emerging consensus that the ownership problem needs to be addressed one way or another.

The issue has been in the press several times, often prompted by speeches Paul Myners has given. And this week investment consultant Watson Wyatt (which advises many of the biggest pension funds) put out a paper called No Action No Option suggesting that trustees need to up their game. Notably the Watsons report highlights the problem of just delegating responsibility for this stuff to fund managers.

If the ultimate 'owners' - pensions funds for example - really do start taking this stuff seriously then we are in for an interesting time.

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