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Full-Text Articles in Securities Law

Reversing The Fortunes Of Active Funds, Adi Libson, Gideon Parchomovsky Jan 2020

Reversing The Fortunes Of Active Funds, Adi Libson, Gideon Parchomovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Recent years have witnessed a considerable growth of passive fund at the expense of active funds. This trend picked in 2019, a year that saw passive funds surpass active funds in terms of assets under management. The continuous decline of active funds is a cause for concern. Active funds engage in monitoring of firms and partake of decision-making in companies in their portfolio. The cost of these activities are born exclusively by active funds; the benefits, by contrast, are spread over all shareholders, including passive funds that freeride on the efforts of active funds. The contraction of active funds threatens ...


Startup Governance, Elizabeth Pollman Jan 2020

Startup Governance, Elizabeth Pollman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Although previously considered rare, over three hundred startups have reached valuations over a billion dollars. Thousands of smaller startups aim to follow in their paths. Despite the enormous social and economic impact of venture-backed startups, their internal governance receives scant scholarly attention. Longstanding theories of corporate ownership and governance do not capture the special features of startups. They can grow large with ownership shared by diverse participants, and they face issues that do not fit the dominant principal-agent paradigm of public corporations or the classic narrative of controlling shareholders in closely held corporations.

This Article offers an original, comprehensive framework ...


The New Titans Of Wall Street: A Theoretical Framework For Passive Investors, Jill E. Fisch, Asaf Hamdani, Steven Davidoff Solomon Jan 2020

The New Titans Of Wall Street: A Theoretical Framework For Passive Investors, Jill E. Fisch, Asaf Hamdani, Steven Davidoff Solomon

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Passive investors — ETFs and index funds — are the most important development in modern day capital markets, dictating trillions of dollars in capital flows and increasingly owning much of corporate America. Neither the business model of passive funds, nor the way that they engage with their portfolio companies, however, is well understood, and misperceptions of both have led some commentators to call for passive investors to be subject to increased regulation and even disenfranchisement. Specifically, this literature takes a narrow view both of the market in which passive investors compete to manage customer funds and of passive investors’ participation in the ...


Corporate Personhood: Possibilities For Progressive, Trans-Doctrinal Legal Reform, Aisha Ihab Saad Dec 2019

Corporate Personhood: Possibilities For Progressive, Trans-Doctrinal Legal Reform, Aisha Ihab Saad

Boston College Law Review

Kent Greenfield’s Corporations Are People Too (And They Should Act Like It) reclaims the legal theory of corporate personhood from the conservative right and champions it for the progressive left. Greenfield argues that corporate personhood, properly construed, can further progressive goals by limiting certain corporate powers, increasing corporate accountability, and enabling corporate management to govern in the interests of all stakeholders. Greenfield advances a progressive account of corporate personhood and elaborates its implementation in constitutional law and in corporate law. This symposium response extends Greenfield’s conception of corporate person-hood to related questions in securities law and tort law ...


A Practice Worth Ending: Eps Guidance Harming Long-Term Growth, Rachel G. Miller Dec 2019

A Practice Worth Ending: Eps Guidance Harming Long-Term Growth, Rachel G. Miller

Notre Dame Law Review

This Note focuses on one factor—earnings per share (EPS) guidance—that contributes to myopic behavior and short-termism within public companies. Part I discusses the history of the shareholder primacy norm and the need for management to act in the best interest of its shareholders. Additionally, this Part provides background on EPS guidance and the notion of short-termism. Part II lays out a framework for quarterly reporting and argues that the current disclosure requirements should remain intact. This Part addresses the importance of frequency in quarterly reporting and provides two examples—the United Kingdom and Regulation A—of practices with ...


Watching Insider Trading Law Wobble: Obus, Newman, Salman, Two Martomas, And A Blaszczak, Donald C. Langevoort Nov 2019

Watching Insider Trading Law Wobble: Obus, Newman, Salman, Two Martomas, And A Blaszczak, Donald C. Langevoort

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

“The crime of insider trading,” Judge Jed Rakoff has said, “is a straightforward concept that some courts have managed to complicate.” In the last eight years or so, insider trading law has wobbled visibly (in the Second Circuit in particular) in applying the standard for tipper-tippee liability originally set in the Supreme Court’s Dirks decision in 1983: from Obus (2012) to Newman (2014), with a detour to the Supreme Court in Salman (2016), and then two Martoma opinions (2017 and 2018). Most recently, the court of appeals offered what to many was a major surprise in its Blaszczak decision ...


Social Activism Through Shareholder Activism, Lisa M. Fairfax Nov 2019

Social Activism Through Shareholder Activism, Lisa M. Fairfax

Washington and Lee Law Review

This article is based on the author's keynote address at the 2018-2019 Lara D. Gass Annual Symposium: Civil Rights and Shareholder Activism at Washington and Lee University School of Law, February 15, 2019.

In 1952, the SEC altered the shareholder proposal rule to exclude proposals made “primarily for the purpose of promoting general economic, political, racial, religious, social or similar causes.” The SEC did not reference civil rights activist James Peck or otherwise acknowledge that its actions were prompted by Peck’s 1951 shareholder proposal to Greyhound for desegregating seating. Instead, the SEC indicated that its change simply reflected ...


From Public Policy To Materiality: Non-Financial Reporting, Shareholder Engagement, And Rule 14a-8’S Ordinary Business Exception, Virginia Harper Ho Nov 2019

From Public Policy To Materiality: Non-Financial Reporting, Shareholder Engagement, And Rule 14a-8’S Ordinary Business Exception, Virginia Harper Ho

Washington and Lee Law Review

This article builds upon the author's remarks at the 2018-2019 Lara D. Gass Annual Symposium: Civil Rights and Shareholder Activism at Washington and Lee University School of Law, February 15, 2019.

In 2017, shareholder proposals urging corporate boards to report on their climate-related risk made headlines when they earned majority support from investors at ExxonMobil, Occidental Petroleum, and PPL. The key to this historic vote was the support of Blackrock, State Street, and Vanguard, which broke with management and cast their votes behind the proposals. The 2018 proxy season saw several more climate-related proposals earn majority support, and in ...


Chancery’S Greatest Decision: Historical Insights On Civil Rights And The Future Of Shareholder Activism, Omari Scott Simmons Nov 2019

Chancery’S Greatest Decision: Historical Insights On Civil Rights And The Future Of Shareholder Activism, Omari Scott Simmons

Washington and Lee Law Review

This article builds upon the author's remarks at the 2018-2019 Lara D. Gass Annual Symposium: Civil Rights and Shareholder Activism at Washington and Lee University School of Law, February 15, 2019.

Shareholder activism—using an equity stake in a corporation to influence management—has become a popular tool to effectuate social change in the twenty-first century. Increasingly, activists are looking beyond financial performance to demand better corporate performance in such areas as economic inequality, civil rights, human rights, discrimination, and diversity. These efforts take many forms: publicity campaigns, litigation, proxy battles, shareholder resolutions, and negotiations with corporate management. However ...


The Social Costs Of Dividends And Share Repurchases, J.B. Heaton Oct 2019

The Social Costs Of Dividends And Share Repurchases, J.B. Heaton

The Journal of Business, Entrepreneurship & the Law

A long-held view in the academy is that shareholders are "residual claimants” in the sense that shareholders are paid in full only after the corporation pays its creditors. The reality on the ground is far different. Corporations give assets away to their shareholders long before they have satisfied creditors, both voluntary contract creditors and involuntary tort creditors. In particular, existing U.S. corporate and voidable transfer laws allow corporations to pay dividends and make share repurchases up to the point where the corporation is insolvent or nearly so. Voluntary creditors can limit dividends and share repurchases by contract, but involuntary ...


Crashing The Boards: A Comparative Analysis Of The Boxing Out Of Women On Boards In The United States And Canada, Diana C. Nicholls Mutter Oct 2019

Crashing The Boards: A Comparative Analysis Of The Boxing Out Of Women On Boards In The United States And Canada, Diana C. Nicholls Mutter

The Journal of Business, Entrepreneurship & the Law

This paper will first provide a critical, comparative look at the Canadian and the federal American responses to the under-representation of women on boards of large, publicly traded corporations. There will be a discussion about the competing conceptions which emerge in addressing the regulation of women on boards in the United States and Canada and why each jurisdiction implemented its policy when it did. The conceptions arising out of questions about under-representation of women on boards tend to fall within two categories: business case rationales and normative rationales. Given the competing conceptions of this issue, this paper will attempt to ...


Breaking Up The Focus On Relationships For Nonpecuniary Insider Trading Personal Benefits, Bradley Larkin Oct 2019

Breaking Up The Focus On Relationships For Nonpecuniary Insider Trading Personal Benefits, Bradley Larkin

Fordham Law Review

In 1983, the U.S. Supreme Court adopted the “personal benefit” requirement as an objective test for insider trading to help determine when confidential information is tipped for an improper purpose. Under this test, a tipper acts improperly by receiving a personal benefit for sharing confidential, nonpublic information, even if the tipper does not trade using the information. For instance, when a tipper leaks confidential information to a trading friend or relative, the tipper benefits personally because this amounts to trading on the confidential information and then gifting the profits. The personal benefit requirement is applied differently among the circuits ...


Table Of Contents, Seattle University Law Review Sep 2019

Table Of Contents, Seattle University Law Review

Seattle University Law Review

No abstract provided.


Stock-Market Law And The Accuracy Of Public Companies’ Stock Prices, Kevin S. Haeberle Sep 2019

Stock-Market Law And The Accuracy Of Public Companies’ Stock Prices, Kevin S. Haeberle

Kevin Scott Haeberle

The social benefits of more accurate stock prices—that is, stock-market prices that more accurately reflect the future cash flows that companies are likely to produce—are well established. But it is also thought that market forces alone will lead to only a sub-optimal level of stock-price accuracy—a level that fails to obtain the maximum net social benefits, or wealth, that would result from a higher level. One of the principal aims of federal securities law has therefore been to increase the extent to which the stock prices of the most important companies in our economy (public companies) contain ...


Law Professor Comment Letter On Harmonization Of Private Offering Rules, Elisabeth D. De Fontenay, Erik F. Gerding, John Coffee, Jr., James D. Cox, Stephen F. Diamond, Merritt B. Fox, Michael Guttentag, Colleen Honigsberg, Renee M. Jones, Donald Langevoort, Saule T. Omarova, James Park, Jeff Schwartz, Andrew F. Tuch, Urska Velikonja Sep 2019

Law Professor Comment Letter On Harmonization Of Private Offering Rules, Elisabeth D. De Fontenay, Erik F. Gerding, John Coffee, Jr., James D. Cox, Stephen F. Diamond, Merritt B. Fox, Michael Guttentag, Colleen Honigsberg, Renee M. Jones, Donald Langevoort, Saule T. Omarova, James Park, Jeff Schwartz, Andrew F. Tuch, Urska Velikonja

Research Data

Comment letter filed on Sept. 24, 2019.

"File No. S7-08-19"

"We are fifteen law professors whose scholarship and teaching focuses on securities regulation. We appreciate the opportunity to comment on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC” or the “Commission”) Concept Release on Harmonization of Securities Offering Exemptions (the “Concept Release”)."


Index Funds And The Future Of Corporate Governance: Theory, Evidence, And Policy, Scott Hirst Sep 2019

Index Funds And The Future Of Corporate Governance: Theory, Evidence, And Policy, Scott Hirst

Faculty Scholarship

Index funds own an increasingly large proportion of American public companies. The stewardship decisions of index fund managers—how they monitor, vote, and engage with their portfolio companies—can be expected to have a profound impact on the governance and performance of public companies and the economy. Understanding index fund stewardship, and how policymaking can improve it, is thus critical for corporate law scholarship. In this Article we contribute to such understanding by providing a comprehensive theoretical, empirical, and policy analysis of index fund stewardship.

We begin by putting forward an agency-costs theory of index fund incentives. Stewardship decisions by ...


Toward A Mission Statement For Mutual Funds In Shareholder Litigation, Sean J. Griffith, Dorothy S. Lund Aug 2019

Toward A Mission Statement For Mutual Funds In Shareholder Litigation, Sean J. Griffith, Dorothy S. Lund

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

This paper analyzes the conduct of mutual funds in shareholder litigation. We begin by reviewing the basic forms of shareholder litigation and the benefits such claims might offer mutual fund investors. We then investigate, though an in-depth docket review, whether and how the ten largest mutual funds participate in shareholder litigation. We find that although shareholder suits offer potential benefits, the largest mutual funds have essentially forfeited their use of litigation. This finding is particularly striking given that index funds and other long-term oriented mutual funds generally cannot sell their shares when they are dissatisfied with company performance, leaving them ...


How Did We Get Here? Dissecting The Hedge Fund Conundrum Through An Institutional Theory Lens, Cary Martin Shelby Jul 2019

How Did We Get Here? Dissecting The Hedge Fund Conundrum Through An Institutional Theory Lens, Cary Martin Shelby

Scholarly Articles

This article dissects both the origins and resulting harms of what the author terms the "hedge fund conundrum," in which institutional investors, such as pension plans and endowments, have consistently increased hedge fund allocations over the past decade despite pervasive evidence of excessive fees and subpar returns. It then utilizes an historical institutionalist lens to examine how lawmakers may have enabled a conundrum of this magnitude. By and large, this phenomenon is a symptom of regulatory loopholes that have permitted the private hedge fund market to increase in "publicness" through its expanding access and subsequent harm to retail investors. Such ...


Why Delaware Courts Should Abolish The Schnell Doctrine, Mary Siegel Jun 2019

Why Delaware Courts Should Abolish The Schnell Doctrine, Mary Siegel

Mary Siegel

No abstract provided.


Activist Shareholders At De Facto Controlled Companies, Gaia Balp May 2019

Activist Shareholders At De Facto Controlled Companies, Gaia Balp

Brooklyn Journal of Corporate, Financial & Commercial Law

Activist campaigns are likely to increasingly target controlled companies. Studies concerning activism at controlled companies focus on shareholder-empowering tools, such as the right to nominate and elect minority directors on the board, as a pathway for limiting the principal-principal agency problem. However, not enough attention has been paid to the distinction between de jure and de facto controlled companies. Building on a recent case concerning a leading Italian corporation, this Article analyzes the possible unexpected corporate governance consequences of successful activist intervention at de facto controlled companies, showing that, where minority shareholders are granted the right to appoint directors on ...


The Specter Of The Giant Three, Scott Hirst, Lucian Bebchuk May 2019

The Specter Of The Giant Three, Scott Hirst, Lucian Bebchuk

Faculty Scholarship

This Article examines the large, steady, and continuing growth of the Big Three index fund managers — BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street Global Advisors. We show that there is a real prospect that index funds will continue to grow, and that voting in most significant public companies will come to be dominated by the future “Giant Three.”

We begin by analyzing the drivers of the rise of the Big Three, including the structural factors that are leading to the heavy concentration of the index funds sector. We then provide empirical evidence about the past growth and current status of the Big ...


Securities Disclosure As Soundbite: The Case Of Ceo Pay Ratios, Steven A. Bank, George S. Georgiev Apr 2019

Securities Disclosure As Soundbite: The Case Of Ceo Pay Ratios, Steven A. Bank, George S. Georgiev

Boston College Law Review

This Article analyzes the history, design, and effectiveness of the highly controversial CEO pay ratio disclosure rule, which went into effect in 2018. Based on a regulatory mandate contained in the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, the rule requires public companies to disclose the ratio between CEO pay and median worker pay as part of their annual filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The seven-year rulemaking process was politically contentious and generated a level of public engagement that was virtually unprecedented in the long history of the SEC disclosure regime. The SEC sought to minimize compliance costs by providing ...


Making Sustainability Disclosure Sustainable, Jill E. Fisch Apr 2019

Making Sustainability Disclosure Sustainable, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Sustainability is receiving increasing attention from issuers, investors and regulators. The desire to understand issuer sustainability practices and their relationship to economic performance has resulted in a proliferation of sustainability disclosure regimes and standards. The range of approaches to disclosure, however, limit the comparability and reliability of the information disclosed. The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has solicited comment on whether to require expanded sustainability disclosures in issuer’s periodic financial reporting, and investors have communicated broad-based support for such expanded disclosures, but, to date, the SEC has not required general sustainability disclosure.

This Article argues that claims about the relationship ...


Intermediated Securities Holding Systems Revisited: A View Through The Prism Of Transparency, Thomas Keijser, Charles W. Mooney Jr. Mar 2019

Intermediated Securities Holding Systems Revisited: A View Through The Prism Of Transparency, Thomas Keijser, Charles W. Mooney Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This chapter explains several benefits of adopting transparent information technology systems for intermediated securities holding infrastructures. Such transparent systems could ameliorate various prevailing problems that confront existing tiered, intermediated holding systems, including those related to corporate actions (dividends, voting), claims against issuers and upper-tier intermediaries, loss sharing and set-off in insolvency proceedings, money laundering and terrorist financing, and privacy, data protection, and confidentiality. Moreover, transparent systems could improve the functions of intermediated holding systems even without changes in laws or regulations. They also could provide a catalyst for law reform and a roadmap for substantive content of reforms. Among potential ...


Looking Forward In A Failing World: Adolf A. Berle, Jr., The United States, And Global Order In The Interwar Years, Jessica Wang Feb 2019

Looking Forward In A Failing World: Adolf A. Berle, Jr., The United States, And Global Order In The Interwar Years, Jessica Wang

Seattle University Law Review

This essay explores Berle’s understanding of American power and its relationship to global order in the era between the First and Second World Wars. I first survey the history of progressive internationalism in the 1920s in order to situate Berle’s approach to U.S. foreign relations and global affairs, before proceeding to a close examination of Berle’s immediate response to the aftermath of World War I, and then his foreign policy activities as part of the Roosevelt administration in the late 1930s and early 1940s. My analysis focuses in particular on his public efforts to promote a ...


Merrick Dodd And The Great Depression: A Few Historical Corrections, Charles R. T. O'Kelley Feb 2019

Merrick Dodd And The Great Depression: A Few Historical Corrections, Charles R. T. O'Kelley

Seattle University Law Review

Merrick Dodd is remembered primarily for his role as coprotagonist, with Adolf Berle, in the famous Berle–Dodd debate. Dodd’s contribution to that debate—For Whom are Corporate Managers Trustees?—has generally been interpreted as the inspiration for modern stakeholder theory. Berle’s contribution has generally been viewed as the foundation on which shareholder primacy rests. Both of these views have been clarified by the nuanced work of Bratton and Wachter. Oddly, while scholars have devoted a great deal of attention to Berle’s actual life story, there is almost no scholarship that sheds light on Merrick Dodd, the ...


“All Lawyers Are Somewhat Suspect”: Adolf A. Berle And The Modern Legal Profession, Harwell Wells Feb 2019

“All Lawyers Are Somewhat Suspect”: Adolf A. Berle And The Modern Legal Profession, Harwell Wells

Seattle University Law Review

Adolf A. Berle was perhaps the preeminent scholar of the modern corporation. He was also an occasional scholar of the modern legal profession. This Article surveys his writings on the legal profession from the 1930s to the 1960s, from the sharp criticisms he leveled at lawyers, particularly corporate lawyers, during the Great Depression, to his sunnier account of the lawyer’s role in the postwar era. I argue that Berle’s views were shaped both by the reformist tradition he inherited from Louis Brandeis and his writings on the corporation, which left him convinced that the fate of the legal ...


Berle And Corporation Finance: Everything Old Is New Again, Frank Partnoy Feb 2019

Berle And Corporation Finance: Everything Old Is New Again, Frank Partnoy

Seattle University Law Review

In this essay, I want to illustrate how Adolf A. Berle Jr.’s Studies in the Law of Corporation Finance1 was prescient about the kinds of financial innovation that are central to today’s markets. For scholars who are not familiar with this publication, Corporation Finance is a compilation of edited versions of several of Berle’s articles, along with some new material, most of which is focused on 1920s corporate practice. My primary goal here is simply to shine a light on this work and to memorialize for scholars the key passages that echo many of today’s challenges ...


Collected Lectures And Talks On Corporate Law, Legal Theory, History, Finance, And Governance, William W. Bratton Feb 2019

Collected Lectures And Talks On Corporate Law, Legal Theory, History, Finance, And Governance, William W. Bratton

Seattle University Law Review

A collection of eighteen speeches and lectures, from 2003 to 2018, discussing and expanding on the writings and theories of Adolf Berle and Gardiner Means.


“In Time Of Stress, A Civilization Pauses To Take Stock Of Itself”: Adolf A. Berle And The Modern Corporation From The New Era To 1933, Mark Hendrickson Feb 2019

“In Time Of Stress, A Civilization Pauses To Take Stock Of Itself”: Adolf A. Berle And The Modern Corporation From The New Era To 1933, Mark Hendrickson

Seattle University Law Review

This Article demonstrates three things. First, an examination of Berle’s work and thinking in this critical period reveals the ways in which public problems and the need to “know capitalism,” to borrow a phrase from Mary Furner, converged in the post-WWI era in remarkable and unprecedented ways that would shape New Deal and post-New Deal politics and policy. Berle’s gift for synthesizing evidence and constructing narratives that explained complex events were particularly well suited to this era that prized the expert. Second, identifying a problem and developing a persuasive narrative is one thing, but finding solutions is another ...