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Why shareholder activism? An interview with Gianluca Ferrari (Shareholder Value Management)

Public Affairs, School of. Abstract This volume deals with issues of widespread interest including, the origins of investor rights in different markets, the political, legal and economic conditions that determine levels of shareholder participation, and the implications of variation in investor rights.

Fingerprint shareholder. Economic conditions. Palgrave Macmillan. Palgrave Macmillan, Further information: Dutch East India Company.

Carried Interest. Retrieved 17 July Transaction Advisors. Archived from the original on International Journal of Management Reviews. Retrieved CS1 maint: Archived copy as title link.

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Retrieved June 28, Funds and the Rights of Dissenting. Retrieved 28 June CS1 maint: Archived copy as title link Retrieved June 28, Koppell, ed. Not if Shareowners Just Say No".

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Retrieved 28 Dec The Oxford Handbook of Capitalism , p. Yale Law Journal, Vol. Opalesque TV. Retrieved 15 Jul Retrieved 6 May Retrieved July 12, Archived from the original on 5 October In a manner vaguely reminiscent of the corporate raiders of the s, a new generation of activist shareholders is on the rise.

And these players are big fish. Institutional funds — such as pension funds, insurance companies, endowments, banks, and hedge funds — have initiated public campaigns to leverage their influence on firms and pressure management for change.


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Activists vocalize their concerns by engaging in conversations with management and meeting the board directly. If consensus is not reached, they may make their demands public through open letters, white paper reports, shareholder proposals and proxy contests.

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Their agenda typically involves issues related to corporate governance, such as replacing management, dividend payouts, new director appointments and executive compensation. However, increasing numbers of activist campaigns seek influence within the strategy domain, which was traditionally the prerogative of executives. The movement is also expanding geographically: approximately twenty percent of total activist shareholder funds are now deployed outside the English-speaking world — and national campaigns have been launched in various European countries, including France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.

Large institutional funds, whose participation in shareholder activism was previously considered atypical, are now getting into the game.

Shareholder Activism Is On The Rise: Caution Required

Through its list of governance and sustainability principles , CalPERS actively endorses the appointment of independent directors, the formation of board committees, CEO succession initiatives and the appointment of non-executive chairs. These changes received considerable exposure in the media and many companies changed their governance approach after CalPERS acquired part of their stock.

The CalPERS strategy has been accompanied by positive financial returns about seven percent for the past twenty years , prompting other institutional funds to follow suit. Favorable regulatory changes aimed at empowering minority shareholders have put the movement in the mainstream among medium-sized investors, including hedge funds. Whether large or small, underperforming or a market leader, no firm can immunize itself from becoming a target of activist investors.