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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 ...


Beyond Intermediation: A New (Fintech) Model For Securities Holding Infrastructures, Charles W. Mooney Jr. Oct 2019

Beyond Intermediation: A New (Fintech) Model For Securities Holding Infrastructures, Charles W. Mooney Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Publicly traded securities generally are held by investors in securities accounts with intermediaries such as stockbrokers and central securities depositories—intermediated securities. For many investors this is the only practical means of holding and dealing with securities. These intermediated holding systems (IHSs) impose a variety of risks and costs. Investors are exposed to intermediary risk (default or insolvency of an intermediary holding securities) as well as impediments to the exercise of rights such as voting and asserting claims against securities issuers. The nontransparency of IHSs imposes other social costs, such as obstacles to anti-money laundering enforcement. The emergence of FinTech ...


Table Of Contents, Seattle University Law Review Sep 2019

Table Of Contents, Seattle University Law Review

Seattle University Law Review

No abstract provided.


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 ...


A Tale Of Two Markets: Regulation And Innovation In Post-Crisis Mortgage And Structured Finance Markets, William W. Bratton, Adam J. Levitin Aug 2019

A Tale Of Two Markets: Regulation And Innovation In Post-Crisis Mortgage And Structured Finance Markets, William W. Bratton, Adam J. Levitin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article takes the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the financial crisis to review recent developments in the structured products market, connecting the emergent pattern to post-crisis regulation.

The Article tells a tale of two markets. The financial crisis stemmed from excessive risk-taking and shabby practice in the subprime home mortgage market, a market that owed its existence to the private-label, originate to securitize model. But the pre-crisis boom in private label subprime mortgage-backed securities could never have happened absent back up financing from an array of structured products and vehicles created in the capital markets—the CDOs that ...


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 ...


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 ...


The New Titans Of Wall Street: A Theoretical Framework For Passive Investors, Jill E. Fisch, Asaf Hamdani, Steven Davidoff Solomon Mar 2019

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 ...


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 ...


Berle X: Berle And His World: An Homage To William W. Bratton, Charles R. T. O'Kelley Feb 2019

Berle X: Berle And His World: An Homage To William W. Bratton, Charles R. T. O'Kelley

Seattle University Law Review

An introduction to the Berle X symposium, honoring William W. (Bill) Bratton.


Democracy In America At Work: The History Of Labor’S Vote In Corporate Governance, Ewan Mcgaughey Feb 2019

Democracy In America At Work: The History Of Labor’S Vote In Corporate Governance, Ewan Mcgaughey

Seattle University Law Review

Can there be democracy in America at work? The historical division between democracy in politics and hierarchy in the economy is under strain. Hierarchical interests in the economy are shifting their model of power into politics, and yet a commitment to revive the law is resurgent. Central examples are the proposed Accountable Capitalism Act, Reward Work Act, Workplace Democracy Acts, and Employees’ Pension Security Acts. They would create a right for employees to elect 40% of directors on $1 billion company boards, a right for employees to elect one-third of directors on other listed company boards and require one-half employee ...


Technological And Institutional Crossroads: The Life And Times Of Adolf A. Berle Jr., Bernard C. Beaudreau Feb 2019

Technological And Institutional Crossroads: The Life And Times Of Adolf A. Berle Jr., Bernard C. Beaudreau

Seattle University Law Review

In this paper, I examine the life and times of Adolf A. Berle Jr., perhaps the most influential scholar in the field of corporate governance. Specifically, I examine his contribution in light of the technological and institutional changes that occurred in the late nineteenth century—changes that were germane to his thinking and understanding of corporate governance. I argue that, despite his perspicacity, he failed to appreciate the changing role of corporate officers—that is, from that of fiduciary agent to that of visionary, founder, and essential element in corporate success. Put differently, in the early twentieth century, the key ...


Table Of Contents, Seattle University Law Review Feb 2019

Table Of Contents, Seattle University Law Review

Seattle University Law Review

No abstract provided.


The Modern Corporation And Private Property Revisited: Gardiner Means And The Administered Price, William W. Bratton Feb 2019

The Modern Corporation And Private Property Revisited: Gardiner Means And The Administered Price, William W. Bratton

Seattle University Law Review

This essay casts additional light on The Modern Corporation’s corporatist precincts, shifting attention to the book’s junior coauthor, Gardiner C. Means. Means is accurately remembered as the generator of Book I’s statistical showings—the description of deepening corporate concentration and widening separation of ownership and control. He is otherwise more notable for his absence than his presence in today’s discussions of The Modern Corporation. This essay fills this gap, describing the junior coauthor’s central concern—a theory of administered prices set out in a Ph.D. dissertation Means submitted to the Harvard economics department after ...


Berle And Means’S The Modern Corporation And Private Property: The Military Roots Of A Stakeholder Model Of Corporate Governance, Andrew Smith, Kevin D. Tennent, Jason Russell Feb 2019

Berle And Means’S The Modern Corporation And Private Property: The Military Roots Of A Stakeholder Model Of Corporate Governance, Andrew Smith, Kevin D. Tennent, Jason Russell

Seattle University Law Review

The Modern Corporation and Private Property by Adolf Berle and Gardiner Means (1932) remains one of the most cited works in management studies. Our paper shows that Berle and Means espoused a stakeholder theory of corporate governance that challenged the then-hegemonic idea that the sole purpose of a corporation is to create value for the shareholders. We argue that Berle and Means’s support for stakeholder theory can be associated with their earlier service in the U.S. military, an organization which then inculcated an ethos of public service in its members. Our paper, which is based on archival research ...


Corporate Lessons For Public Governance: The Origins And Activities Of The National Budget Committee, 1919–1923, Jesse Tarbert Feb 2019

Corporate Lessons For Public Governance: The Origins And Activities Of The National Budget Committee, 1919–1923, Jesse Tarbert

Seattle University Law Review

There is a peculiar disconnect between the way specialists view the 1920s and the way the decade is understood by non-specialists and the general public. Casual observers tend to view the 1920s as a conservative or reactionary interlude between the watershed reform periods of the Progressive Era and New Deal. Although many scholars have abandoned the traditional view of the 1920s, their work has not yet penetrated the generalizations of non-specialists. Even readers familiar with specialist accounts portraying the New Era as the age of “corporate liberalism” or the “Associative State” tend to view these concepts as just another way ...


Adolf Berle During The New Deal: The Brain Truster As An Intellectual Jobber, Robert B. Thompson Feb 2019

Adolf Berle During The New Deal: The Brain Truster As An Intellectual Jobber, Robert B. Thompson

Seattle University Law Review

Adolf Berle’s ideas have attained a remarkable longevity in corporate law with an influence exceeding that of any other twentieth century law professor. Participants in the now ten Berle symposia often have framed the discussion of his career as an intellectual history, usually built around the powerful transformative effect of The Modern Corporation and Private Property (MCPP). Yet this approach is insufficient to explain large parts of Berle’s professional career, including what Berle did during the twelve years of the Roosevelt Administration that immediately followed MCPP. This Article offers an alternative focus that better accounts for the career ...


Quasi Governments And Inchoate Law: Berle’S Vision Of Limits On Corporate Power, Elizabeth Pollman Feb 2019

Quasi Governments And Inchoate Law: Berle’S Vision Of Limits On Corporate Power, Elizabeth Pollman

Seattle University Law Review

This Berle X Symposium essay gives prominence to distinguished corporate law scholar Adolf A. Berle, Jr. and his key writings of the 1950s and 1960s. Berle is most famous for his work decades earlier, in the 1930s, with Gardiner Means on the topic of the separation of ownership and control, and for his great debate of corporate social responsibility with E. Merrick Dodd. Yet the world was inching closer to our contemporary one in terms of both business and technology in Berle’s later years and his work from this period deserves attention.


The Rise And Fall (?) Of The Berle–Means Corporation, Brian R. Cheffins Feb 2019

The Rise And Fall (?) Of The Berle–Means Corporation, Brian R. Cheffins

Seattle University Law Review

This Article forms part of the proceedings of the 10th Annual Berle Symposium (2018), which focused on Adolf Berle and the world he influenced. He and Gardiner Means documented in The Modern Corporation and Private Property (1932) what they said was a separation of ownership and control in major American business enterprises. Berle and Means became sufficiently closely associated with the separation of ownership and control pattern for the large American public firm to be christened subsequently the “Berle–Means corporation.” This Article focuses on the “rise” of the Berle–Means corporation, considering in so doing why ownership became divorced ...


The ‘Berle And Means Corporation’ In Historical Perspective, Eric Hilt Feb 2019

The ‘Berle And Means Corporation’ In Historical Perspective, Eric Hilt

Seattle University Law Review

This Article presents new evidence on the evolution of the business corporation in America and on the emergence of what is commonly termed the “Berle and Means corporation.” Drawing on a wide range of sources, I investigate three major historical claims of The Modern Corporation: that large corporations had displaced small ones by the early twentieth century; that the quasi-public corporations of the 1930s were much larger than the public corporations of the nineteenth century; and that ownership was separated from control to a much greater extent in the 1930s compared to the nineteenth century. I address each of these ...


On The Origins Of The Modern Corporation And Private Property, Bernard C. Beaudreau Feb 2019

On The Origins Of The Modern Corporation And Private Property, Bernard C. Beaudreau

Seattle University Law Review

The Modern Corporation and Private Property (MCPP) by Adolf A. Berle Jr. and Gardiner Means, published in 1932, is undisputedly the most influential work ever written in the field of corporate governance. In a nutshell, Berle and Means argued that corporate control had been usurped by a new class of managers, the result of which included (1) shareholder loss of control (a basic property right), (2) questionable corporate objectives and behavior, and (3) the potential breakdown of the market mechanism. In this paper, I examine the origins of MCPP, paying particular attention to the authors’ underlying motives. I argue that ...


Made For This Moment: The Enduring Relevance Of Adolf Berle’S Belief In A Global New Deal, Leo E. Strine Jr. Feb 2019

Made For This Moment: The Enduring Relevance Of Adolf Berle’S Belief In A Global New Deal, Leo E. Strine Jr.

Seattle University Law Review

At a time when the insecurity of working people in the United States and Europe is being exploited by nativist forces, the concept of a global New Deal is more relevant than ever. But, instead of a global New Deal, the predominant force in international trade in recent decades has been spreading pre-New Deal, laissez-faire approaches to markets, without extending with equal vigor the regulations essential to providing ordinary people economic security. Adolf Berle recognized that if the economy did not work for all, the worst impulses in humanity could be exploited by demagogues and authoritarians, having seen this first ...


The Problem Of Sunsets, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon Jan 2019

The Problem Of Sunsets, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

An increasing percentage of corporations are going public with dual class stock in which the shares owned by the founders or other corporate insiders have greater voting rights than the shares sold to public investors. Some commentators have criticized the dual class structure as unfair to public investors by reducing the accountability of insiders; others have defended the value of dual class in encouraging innovation by providing founders with insulation from market pressure that enables them to pursue their idiosyncratic vision.

The debate over whether dual class structures increase or decrease corporate value is, to date, unresolved. Empirical studies have ...


Mootness Fees, Matthew D. Cain, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon, Randall Thomas Jan 2019

Mootness Fees, Matthew D. Cain, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon, Randall Thomas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In response to a sharp increase in litigation challenging mergers, the Delaware Chancery Court issued the 2016 Trulia decision, which substantively reduced the attractiveness of Delaware as a forum for these suits. In this Article, we empirically assess the response of plaintiffs’ attorneys to these developments. Specifically, we document a troubling trend—the flight of merger litigation to federal court where these cases are overwhelmingly resolved through voluntary dismissals that provide no benefit to the plaintiff class but generate a payment to plaintiffs’ counsel in the form of a mootness fee. In 2018, for example, 77% of deals with litigation ...