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Full-Text Articles in Law

Initiation Payments, Scott Hirst Jul 2023

Initiation Payments, Scott Hirst

Faculty Scholarship

Many of the central discussions in corporate governance, including those regarding proxy contests, shareholder proposals, and other activism or stewardship, can be understood as a single question: Is there under-initiation of corporate changes that investors would collectively prefer?

This Article sheds light on this question in three ways. First, the Article proposes a theory of investor initiation, which explains the hypothesis that there is under-initiation of collectively-preferred corporate change by investors. Even though investors collectively prefer that certain corporate changes take place, the costs to any individual investor from initiating such changes through high-cost proxy contests, or even low-cost shareholder …


Giving Shareholders The Right To Say No, Albert H. Choi, Adam C. Pritchard Jan 2023

Giving Shareholders The Right To Say No, Albert H. Choi, Adam C. Pritchard

Articles

When a public company releases misleading information that distorts the market for the company’s stock, investors who purchase at the inflated price lose money when (and if) the misleading information is later corrected. Under Rule 10b‑5 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, investors can seek compensation from corporations and their officers who make materially misleading statements that the investors relied on when buying or selling a security. Compensation is the obvious goal, but the threat of lawsuits can also benefit investors by deterring managers from committing fraud.


Changemakers: 'Hard Work, Determination, And Dedication': Arya Omshehe, Roger Williams University School Of Law Jan 2023

Changemakers: 'Hard Work, Determination, And Dedication': Arya Omshehe, Roger Williams University School Of Law

Life of the Law School (1993- )

No abstract provided.


How Much Do Investors Care About Social Responsibility?, Scott Hirst, Kobi Kastiel, Tamar Kricheli-Katz Jan 2023

How Much Do Investors Care About Social Responsibility?, Scott Hirst, Kobi Kastiel, Tamar Kricheli-Katz

Faculty Scholarship

Perhaps the most important corporate law debate over the last several years concerns whether directors and executives should manage the corporation to maximize value for investors or also take into account the interests of other stakeholders and society. But, do investors themselves wish to maximize returns, or are they willing to forgo returns for social purposes? And more broadly, do market participants, such as investors and consumers, differ from donors in the ways in which they prioritize monetary gains and the promotion of social goals?

This project attempts to answer these questions with evidence from an experiment conducted with 279 …


Dynamic Disclosure: An Exposé On The Mythical Divide Between Voluntary And Mandatory Esg Disclosure, Lisa Fairfax Nov 2022

Dynamic Disclosure: An Exposé On The Mythical Divide Between Voluntary And Mandatory Esg Disclosure, Lisa Fairfax

All Faculty Scholarship

In March 2022, for the first time in its history, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) proposed rules mandating disclosure related to climate change. The proposed rules are remarkable because heretofore many in the business community, including the SEC, vehemently resisted climate-related disclosure, based primarily on the argument that such disclosure is not material to investors. This resistance is exemplified by the current lack of any SEC disclosure mandates for climate change. The proposed rules have sparked considerable pushback including allegations that the rules violate the First Amendment, would be too costly, and focus on “social” or “political” issues …


Law School News: Omshehe Wins Top National Prize With Securities Regulation Article 11-4-2022, Michael M. Bowden Nov 2022

Law School News: Omshehe Wins Top National Prize With Securities Regulation Article 11-4-2022, Michael M. Bowden

Life of the Law School (1993- )

No abstract provided.


Board Committee Charters And Esg Accountability, Lisa Fairfax Sep 2022

Board Committee Charters And Esg Accountability, Lisa Fairfax

All Faculty Scholarship

We are currently witnessing a sharp increase in corporate attention on environmental, sustainability, and governance (“ESG”). The steep rise in corporate focus on ESG has prompted considerable criticism, not only from those concerned about how best to ensure that corporations are held accountable for their ESG commitments, but also from those who strenuously insist that corporate commitment to ESG is merely rhetorical or otherwise merely a passing fad. In an effort to shed light on the concerns around ESG accountability, and gain perspective about the potential illusory or short-term nature of ESG, I conducted my own survey of the committee …


Nontraditional Investors, Jennifer S. Fan Jan 2022

Nontraditional Investors, Jennifer S. Fan

Articles

In recent years, nontraditional investors have become a major player in the startup ecosystem. Under the regulatory regime of U.S. securities law, those in the public realm are heavily regulated, while those in the private realm are largely left alone. This public-private divide, which is a fundamental organizing principle of securities law, has eroded with the rise of nontraditional investors. While legal scholars have addressed the impact of some of these nontraditional investors individually, their collective impact on deal terms, deal timelines, due diligence, and board configuration has not been discussed in a holistic manner; neither has their impact on …


Mandating Disclosure Of Climate-Related Financial Risk, Madison Condon, Sarah Ladin, Jack Lienke, Michael Panfil, Alexander Song Jan 2021

Mandating Disclosure Of Climate-Related Financial Risk, Madison Condon, Sarah Ladin, Jack Lienke, Michael Panfil, Alexander Song

Faculty Scholarship

Climate change presents grave risk across the U.S. economy, including to corporations, their investors, the markets in which they operate, and the American public at large. Unlike other financial risks, however, climate risk is not routinely disclosed to the public. Insufficient corporate disclosures have persisted despite the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) issuance of regulatory guidance on the topic, the emergence of voluntary disclosure frameworks and standards, and growing calls from major investors for improved disclosure. Given the inadequacy of the current regime, the SEC should take further action to fulfill its statutory mandate to protect investors and promote efficiency, …


Mining And The Sdgs: A 2020 Status Update, Responsible Mining Foundation, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Sep 2020

Mining And The Sdgs: A 2020 Status Update, Responsible Mining Foundation, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In September 2015, the UN member states agreed on a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which represent the global agenda for equitable, socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable economic development until 2030. Mining companies have the potential to become leading partners in achieving the SDGs. Through their direct operations, mining companies can generate profits, employment, and economic growth in low-income countries. And through partnerships with government and civil society, mining companies can ensure that benefits of mining extend beyond the life of the mine itself, so that the mining industry has a positive impact on the natural environment, climate …


Opt-In Stewardship: Toward An Optimal Delegation Of Mutual Fund Voting Authority, Sean J. Griffith Jan 2020

Opt-In Stewardship: Toward An Optimal Delegation Of Mutual Fund Voting Authority, Sean J. Griffith

Faculty Scholarship

This article offers a theory of mutual fund voting to answer when mutual funds should vote on behalf of their investors and when they should not. It argues that voting authority for mutual funds ought to depend upon: (1) whether the fund possesses a comparative information advantage, and (2) the ability of the fund to assume a common investor purpose. The strongest case for mutual fund voting is one in which high-quality information is produced and the fund is able to assume a common investor purpose. The case for mutual fund voting is weaker when low quality information is produced …


Real Insider Trading, Michael A. Perino Jan 2020

Real Insider Trading, Michael A. Perino

Faculty Publications

In popular rhetoric, insider trading cases are about leveling the playing field between elite market participants and ordinary investors. Academic critiques vary. Some depict an untethered insider trading doctrine that enforcers use to expand their power and enhance their discretion. Others see enforcers beset with agency cost problems who bring predominantly simple, easily resolved cases to create the veneer of vigorous enforcement. The debate has, to this point, been based mostly on anecdote and conjecture rather than empirical evidence. This Article addresses that gap by collecting extensive data on 465 individual defendants in civil, criminal, and administrative actions to assess …


Why The Fed Should Issue A Policy Framework For Credit Policy, Kathryn Judge Jan 2020

Why The Fed Should Issue A Policy Framework For Credit Policy, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

The Federal Reserve has long used policy frameworks to both explain and inform its policymaking. These policy frameworks typically explain what the Fed is seeking to achieve in a given domain and how it plans to achieve its desired aims. Two prominent examples are the Fed’s use of Bagehot’s dictum when acting as a lender of last resort and its monetary policy framework issued in 2012 and revised in 2020. In both instances, the framework provides a foundation for informed debate among Fed policymakers, Congress, and the public, enhancing both efficacy and accountability. Since the onset of the Covid crisis, …


Information Asymmetry And The Protection Of Ordinary Investors, Kevin S. Haeberle Nov 2019

Information Asymmetry And The Protection Of Ordinary Investors, Kevin S. Haeberle

Faculty Publications

To some, the reductions in information asymmetry provided by the main securities-specific disclosure, fraud, and insider-trading laws help ordinary investors in meaningful ways. To others, whatever their larger social value, such reductions do little, if anything for these investors. For decades, these two sides of this investor-protection divide have mostly talked past each other.

This Article builds on economic theory to reveal something striking: The reductions in information asymmetry provided by the core securities laws likely impose a long-overlooked cost on buy-and-hold ordinary investors. More specifically, I explain why there is much reason to believe that the reductions take away …


Fixing The Business Of Food: The Food Industry And The Sdg Challenge, Barilla Center For Food And Nutrition, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment, Sanda Chiara Lab Sep 2019

Fixing The Business Of Food: The Food Industry And The Sdg Challenge, Barilla Center For Food And Nutrition, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment, Sanda Chiara Lab

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In collaboration with the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and the Santa Chiara Lab of the University of Siena, CCSI presented its first report on Fixing the Business of Food.

The document, part of a two-year effort, highlights the sustainable development challenge faced by the food industry. By proposing a Four Dimension framework, the report asks four overarching questions for companies in the food sector to address alignment with the SDGs:

  1. Does the company contribute to healthy and sustainable dietary patterns through its products and strategy?
  2. Are the company’s production processes economically, socially, …


Reputational And Integrity Due Diligence On Investors, Kroll, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Jan 2019

Reputational And Integrity Due Diligence On Investors, Kroll, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Before deciding to invest, companies and investors will perform background research on the uncertainties and risks associated with the proposed investment. For natural resource projects, there are risks around geology, market and price developments, construction delays, operations, regulatory changes, political disruptions, and reputational issues. Feasibility studies and due diligence assessments aim to better understand these risks, reduce uncertainty where possible and be better prepared to manage them.

Governments too should understand the risks that are associated with the proposed investments and get to know the investors before entering into negotiations or signing contracts. This is particularly important for long-term agreements …


Law School News: Does Indictment Mean Correia Will Likely Be Forced To Resign? Law School Dean Says 'Wait A Week' 10/17/2018, Michael Holtzman, Roger Williams University School Of Law Oct 2018

Law School News: Does Indictment Mean Correia Will Likely Be Forced To Resign? Law School Dean Says 'Wait A Week' 10/17/2018, Michael Holtzman, Roger Williams University School Of Law

Life of the Law School (1993- )

No abstract provided.


Agricultural Investments Under International Investment Law, Jesse Coleman, Sarah Brewin, Thierry Berger Oct 2018

Agricultural Investments Under International Investment Law, Jesse Coleman, Sarah Brewin, Thierry Berger

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

International investment law, based primarily on international investment treaties, plays an important role in the governance of investment in agriculture, forestry, and fishing. The obligations established by these treaties, and enforced by means of investor–state arbitration, can present challenges for policy-makers and others seeking to ensure that investments are sustainable, including by affecting the ways in which the costs and benefits of investments are distributed among different actors.

CCSI partnered with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) to produce a briefing note on agricultural investments under international investment law. The …


Crowdfunding Signals, Darian M. Ibrahim Sep 2018

Crowdfunding Signals, Darian M. Ibrahim

Faculty Publications

Entrepreneurs can now “crowdfund,” or sell securities to unaccredited investors over the Internet, to raise capital. But will these companies be able to attract the follow-on investors (angels and venture capitalists) that are necessary for long-term success? Angels and VCs face extreme levels of information asymmetry when deciding whether to fund a company. Signals can reduce this asymmetry. Early commentary argues a company only crowdfunds as a last resort for fear of sending a negative signal about the company’s quality to follow-on investors. This Article argues the inverse. This Article argues a successful crowdfunding campaign can send a positive signal …


The Regulation Of Digital Investment Advice, Christine Lazaro Jan 2018

The Regulation Of Digital Investment Advice, Christine Lazaro

Faculty Publications

Digital investment advice, or robo-advice, is a growing trend in the financial services industry. It is expected that by 2022, robo-advisers will manage over $4 trillion in assets. Robo-advice covers a wide range of services, however all involve advice derived from algorithms. This article will discuss what robo-advice is as well as how it is regulated by the SEC and FINRA.


Investors' Paradox, Anita Krug Jan 2018

Investors' Paradox, Anita Krug

All Faculty Scholarship

For the first time in an era, new investment products for smaller ("retail ") investors are emerging. These products are mutual funds that engage in the types of trading and investment activities that have long been the province of sophisticated investors. Accordingly, the new funds (called "alternative funds") promise to reduce the gulf between retail investors and their sophisticated counterparts, in terms of portfolio diversification and investment results.This Article describes the complex mix of factors that spawned alternative funds and critically evaluates the funds' potential, the first scholarly work to do so. It additionally unearths the paradox that impedes the …


Advancing Human Rights-By-Design In The Dual-Use Technology Industry, Jonathon Penney, Sarah Mckune, Lex Gill, Ronald Deibert Jan 2018

Advancing Human Rights-By-Design In The Dual-Use Technology Industry, Jonathon Penney, Sarah Mckune, Lex Gill, Ronald Deibert

Articles, Book Chapters, & Popular Press

It is no secret that technology companies have greased the wheels for human rights abuses around the world — backed by a global web of private sector support and investment that has yielded significant financial returns. For example, the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab recently published research analyzing the use of Internet filtering technology developed by Canadian company Netsweeper in ten countries globally — Afghanistan, Bahrain, India, Kuwait, Pakistan, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen — and concluded these uses likely violated international human rights law. Products like Netsweeper’s Internet filtering systems are often referred to as "dual …


The Case For Federal Preemption Of State Blue Sky Laws, Rutheford B. Campbell Jr. May 2017

The Case For Federal Preemption Of State Blue Sky Laws, Rutheford B. Campbell Jr.

Law Faculty Popular Media

In our market economy, imposing rules on capital formation makes economic sense. Well-constructed rules regarding capital formation can promote the efficient flow of capital to its highest and best use and prevent or ameliorate fraud or unfairness to investors. These rules, however, generate additional offering costs that may retard or in some cases completely choke off the flow of capital from investors to businesses. The problem with state blue sky laws is their registration requirements, which significantly impede efficient capital formation and provide no material economic or societal benefits, such as protection of investors from fraud.


The Case For Federal Pre-Emption Of State Blue Sky Laws, Rutheford B. Campbell Jr. Mar 2017

The Case For Federal Pre-Emption Of State Blue Sky Laws, Rutheford B. Campbell Jr.

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

State blue sky laws—state laws that regulate a company’s offer and sale of securities—are a substantial barrier to businesses’ efficient access to external capital. The registration provisions in state blue sky laws have been especially harmful to small businesses, a vital component of our economy that may account for 30% of the nation’s employment. The costs associated with complying with more than fifty separate and independent obligations to register securities often exceed what small businesses can pay and thus may foreclose small businesses from the capital market. At the same time, requiring small businesses to comply with multiple registration regimes …


220+ Law And Economics Professors Sign Letter Opposing Isds In The Tpp, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Sep 2016

220+ Law And Economics Professors Sign Letter Opposing Isds In The Tpp, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

CCSI helped launch a letter joined by over 220 law and economics professors calling on Congress to oppose the final Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement because that treaty includes the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. As the letter notes, the ISDS mechanism “threatens to dilute constitutional protections, weaken the judicial branch and outsource our domestic legal system to a system of private arbitration that is isolated from essential checks and balances.” Despite the Obama administration’s claims to have addressed growing concerns about the ISDS system, the final TPP would instead vastly expand the ISDS threat to the rule of law and …


Newsroom: Ap: Chung On 38 Studios Settlement 03-14-2016, Michelle R. Smith, Roger Williams University School Of Law Mar 2016

Newsroom: Ap: Chung On 38 Studios Settlement 03-14-2016, Michelle R. Smith, Roger Williams University School Of Law

Life of the Law School (1993- )

No abstract provided.


Land Deal Dilemmas: Grievances, Human Rights, And Investor Protections, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson, Sam Szoke-Burke Mar 2016

Land Deal Dilemmas: Grievances, Human Rights, And Investor Protections, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Land-based investments can create significant grievances for local individuals or communities, and host governments seeking to address those grievances must navigate a complicated landscape of legal obligations and pragmatic considerations. This report, funded by UK aid from the Department for International Development, focuses on practical solutions for governments confronting grievances that arise from large-scale investments in agricultural or forestry projects.

The report considers such solutions in the context of governments’ legal obligations, particularly those imposed by international investment law, international human rights law, and investor-state contracts. Understanding the implications of this diverse range of legal obligations is particularly important in …


Transparency In Land-Based Investment: Key Questions And Next Steps, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Mar 2016

Transparency In Land-Based Investment: Key Questions And Next Steps, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Large-scale investments in agriculture and forestry are often shrouded in secrecy. In many cases, they are negotiated without the involvement of affected communities, approved through opaque decision-making procedures, and governed by legal agreements that are difficult both to access and to understand. This systemic lack of transparency impedes accountability and exacerbates ongoing disagreements about the real costs and benefits for investors, host countries, and their citizens.

Jointly authored by CCSI and the Open Contracting Partnership, this briefing note examines why contract disclosure and a contracting process that is open, accessible, and inclusive are important; what such transparency entails; and how …


Land Deals And The Law: Grievances, Human Rights, And Investor Protections, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson, Sam Szoke-Burke Mar 2016

Land Deals And The Law: Grievances, Human Rights, And Investor Protections, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Land-based investments can create significant grievances for local individuals or communities, and host governments seeking to address those grievances must navigate a complicated landscape of legal obligations and pragmatic considerations. This briefing note, funded by UK aid from the Department for International Development, focuses on practical solutions for governments confronting grievances that arise from large-scale investments in agricultural or forestry projects. It accompanies a more in depth report on similar issues, entitled "Land Deal Dilemmas: Grievances, Human rights, and Investor Protections."

The briefing note considers such solutions in the context of governments’ legal obligations, particularly those imposed by international investment …


Sec Investigations And Securities Class Actions: An Empirical Comparison, Stephen J. Choi, Adam C. Pritchard Mar 2016

Sec Investigations And Securities Class Actions: An Empirical Comparison, Stephen J. Choi, Adam C. Pritchard

Articles

Using actions with both an SEC investigation and a class action as our baseline, we compare the targeting of SEC-only investigations with class-action-only lawsuits. Looking at measures of information asymmetry, we find that investors in the market perceive greater information asymmetry following the public announcement of the underlying violation for class-action-only lawsuits compared with SEC-only investigations. Turning to sanctions, we find that the incidence of top officer resignation is greater for class-action-only lawsuits relative to SEC-only investigations. Our findings are consistent with the private enforcement targeting disclosure violations at least as precisely as (if not more so than) SEC enforcement.