Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Companies and shareholders

I had a conversation today with someone who has been doing some research on companies' experiences with investors. To cut a long story short, he said one or two were very positive about engagement with institutional shareholders, but the large majority were very dismissive.

For one, shareholders are actually a pretty diverse lot, with very different perspectives, so there's not one message/request for companies to respond to. Secondly, companies find that a lot of investors - even the large ones - aren't capable of having a particularly well-informed conversation. So basically, most companies aren't that bothered about more shareholder engagement. His conclusion from all this was that talk about ownership was a bit nonsensical.

No big surprises here to any regular readers, but interesting to hear the story from the company perspective, and more evidence that there is still a mountain to climb if the shareholder as owner thing is to be made to work.

1 comment:

Charlie Marks said...

But surely the whole point about share ownership is that liability is limited - therefore there cannot be ownership in the fullest sense, and "shareholder as owner" cannot be made to work.

If my dog bites you, you can hold me to account through the courts - I own the dog and am responsible.

The following should be considered: shareholders for the most part do not want the responsibility of ownership.