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Corporate governance

2020

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Institution
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Full-Text Articles in Law

Shareholder Value(S): Index Fund Esg Activism And The New Millennial Corporate Governance, David H. Webber, Michal Barzuza, Quinn Curtis Sep 2020

Shareholder Value(S): Index Fund Esg Activism And The New Millennial Corporate Governance, David H. Webber, Michal Barzuza, Quinn Curtis

Faculty Scholarship

Major index fund operators have been criticized as ineffective stewards of the firms in which they are now the largest shareholders. While scholars debate whether this passivity is a serious problem, index funds’ generally docile approach to ownership is broadly acknowledged.

However, this Article argues that the notion that index funds are passive owners overlooks an important dimension in which index funds have demonstrated outspoken, confrontational, and effective stewardship. Specifically, we document that index funds have taken a leading role in challenging management and voting
against directors in order to advance board diversity and corporate sustainability. We show that index …


Federal Forum Provisions And The Internal Affairs Doctrine, Dhruv Aggarwal, Albert H. Choi, Ofer Eldar Aug 2020

Federal Forum Provisions And The Internal Affairs Doctrine, Dhruv Aggarwal, Albert H. Choi, Ofer Eldar

Articles

A key question at the intersection of state and federal law is whether corpo- rations can use their charters or bylaws to restrict securities litigation to federal court. In December 2018, the Delaware Chancery Court answered this question in the negative in the landmark decision Sciabacucchi v. Salzberg. The court invalidated “federal forum provisions” (“FFPs”) that allow companies to select federal district courts as the exclusive venue for claims brought under the Secur- ities Act of 1933 (“1933 Act”). The decision held that the internal affairs doc- trine, which is the bedrock of U.S. corporate law, does not permit charter …


Climbing To 1011: Globalization, Digitization, Shareholder Capitalism And The Summits Of Contemporary Wealth, David A. Westbrook Jun 2020

Climbing To 1011: Globalization, Digitization, Shareholder Capitalism And The Summits Of Contemporary Wealth, David A. Westbrook

Journal Articles

While we may find many sorts of inequality in the United States and elsewhere, this essay is about the specific form of inequality exemplified by Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates, that is, the Himalayan summits of contemporary wealth, mostly in the United States. Such wealth results from the confluence of three historical developments.

First, the social processes referred to under the rubric of “globalization” have created vast markets. A dominant position in such markets leads not only to great wealth, but the elimination of peers. Since there are few such markets, relatively significant wealth is possessed by very few people. …


The Global Sustainability Footprint Of Sovereign Wealth Funds, Hao Liang, Luc Renneboog Jun 2020

The Global Sustainability Footprint Of Sovereign Wealth Funds, Hao Liang, Luc Renneboog

Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School Of Business

With the emergence of sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) around the world managing equity of over $8 trillion, their impact on the corporate landscape and social welfare is being scrutinized. This study investigates whether and how SWFs incorporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations in their investment decisions in publicly listed corporations, as well as the subsequent evolution of target firms' ESG performance. We find that SWF funds do consider the level of past ESG performance as well as recent ESG score improvement when taking ownership stakes in listed companies. These results are driven by the SWF funds that do have …


Managerial Fixation And The Limitations Of Shareholder Oversight, Emily R. Winston Apr 2020

Managerial Fixation And The Limitations Of Shareholder Oversight, Emily R. Winston

Faculty Publications

BlackRock’s recent public letters to the CEOs of the companies in which it invests have drawn substantial attention from stock market actors and observers for their conspicuous call on corporate CEOs to focus on sustainability and social impacts on non-shareholder stakeholders. This Article explores the market changes that propelled BlackRock into a position to make such a call, and whether institutional shareholders can be effective monitors of these broad social goals. It argues that while corporate attention to non-shareholder stakeholders can improve firm value, shareholder oversight of these stakeholder relationships will not succeed in having this effect.

In the past …


A New Urban Front For Shareholder Primacy, Anne Choike Apr 2020

A New Urban Front For Shareholder Primacy, Anne Choike

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

The hundredth anniversary of Dodge v. Ford marks an occasion to reflect upon what, if anything, has changed about shareholder primacy in a century. Seizing this opportunity, in this Article I analyze new local laws and ordinances that promote stakeholder governance and engagement, which seek to protect the interests of non-shareholder constituencies such as workers, the environment, and the communities in which corporations operate, among others. In doing so, I argue that such local laws meaningfully differ from traditional stakeholder protections, most significantly in the way that they weaken managerial accountability to shareholders. The emergence of these city laws challenges …


The Plight Of Women In Positions Of Corporate Leadership In The United States, The European Union, And Japan: Differing Laws And Cultures, Similar Issues, Bettina C. K. Binder, Terry Morehead Dworkin, Niculina Nae, Cindy A. Schipani, Irina Averianova Mar 2020

The Plight Of Women In Positions Of Corporate Leadership In The United States, The European Union, And Japan: Differing Laws And Cultures, Similar Issues, Bettina C. K. Binder, Terry Morehead Dworkin, Niculina Nae, Cindy A. Schipani, Irina Averianova

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

Gender diversity in corporate governance is a highly debated issue worldwide. National campaigns such as “2020 Women on Boards” in the United States and “Women on the Board Pledge for Europe” are examples of just two initiatives aimed at increasing female representation in the corporate boardroom. Several

European countries have adopted board quotas as a means toward achieving gender diversity. Japan has passed an Act on Promotion of Women’s Participation and Advancement in the Workplace to lay a foundation for establishing targets for promoting women.

This Article examines the status of women in positions of leadership in the United States, …


Horizontal Directors, Yaron Nili Mar 2020

Horizontal Directors, Yaron Nili

Northwestern University Law Review

Directors wield increasing influence in corporate America, making pivotal decisions regarding corporate affairs and management. A robust literature recognizes directors’ important role and examines their incentives and performance. In particular, scholars have worried that “busy directors”—those who serve on multiple corporate boards—may face time constraints that affect their performance. Little attention, however, has been paid to directors who sit on the boards of multiple companies within the same industry. This Article terms them “horizontal directors” and spotlights, for the first time, the legal and policy issues they raise. The “horizontal” feature of directorships, a term often used in the antitrust …


Gender Diversity In Corporate Boardrooms: Do Equal Seats Mean Equal Voices?, Nicolena Farias-Eisner Jan 2020

Gender Diversity In Corporate Boardrooms: Do Equal Seats Mean Equal Voices?, Nicolena Farias-Eisner

The Journal of Business, Entrepreneurship & the Law

This paper will first trace the history and evolution of gender diversity on boards. It then will assess why the growing trend toward greater gender diversity has become prevalent in recent years and the effects of this trend. Third, the paper will address the social impacts that increasing gender diversity on boards will place on companies. Lastly, this paper will conclude by discussing and suggesting policy implications that would enhance boardroom gender diversity and ultimately achieve gender equality.


The Morals Of The Women On Boards Story: Global Board Gender Diversity Efforts Still Need Fairness-Based Arguments To Move Regulation To The Next Chapter, Diana C. Nicholls Mutter Jan 2020

The Morals Of The Women On Boards Story: Global Board Gender Diversity Efforts Still Need Fairness-Based Arguments To Move Regulation To The Next Chapter, Diana C. Nicholls Mutter

The International Lawyer

The number of women on boards of public companies in the United States and Canada is still staggeringly low despite the fact that both of these jurisdictions have implemented disclosure-based regulation relating to board diversity. Typically, arguments in support of regulation aimed at increasing women's participation on public boards fall into two categories: the business case and the fairness-based (or normative) case. The business case is essentially the idea that women bring some instrumental benefit to the board which leads to improvements in firm functioning or performance overall. While politically attractive, the business case for justifying regulation has yet to …


Addressing The Auditor Independence Puzzle: Regulatory Models And Proposal For Reform, Martin Gelter, Aurelio Gurrea-Martinez Jan 2020

Addressing The Auditor Independence Puzzle: Regulatory Models And Proposal For Reform, Martin Gelter, Aurelio Gurrea-Martinez

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

Auditors play a major role in corporate governance and capital markets. Ex ante, auditors facilitate firms' access to finance by fostering trust among public investors. Ex post, auditors can prevent misbehavior and prevent financial fraud by corporate insiders. In order to fulfill these goals, however, in addition to having the adequate knowledge and expertise, auditors must perform their functions in an independent manner. Unfortunately, auditors are often subject to conflicts of interest, for example, resulting from the provision of nonaudit services but also because of the mere fact of being hired and paid by the audited company. Therefore, even if …


The Conundrum Of Common Ownership, Jennifer G. Hill Jan 2020

The Conundrum Of Common Ownership, Jennifer G. Hill

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

The common ownership debate has become one of the most contentious issues in corporate law today. This debate is a by-product of major changes to capital market ownership structure, which have triggered concerns about the rise of institutional investors, the growth of index investing, and the rapid concentration of ownership in major international financial markets. The common ownership theory focuses on concerns about the incentives of large financial institutions holding widely diversified portfolios of shares in competing companies within a particular economic sector. Proponents of the common ownership theory argue that, even where institutional investors have relatively small ownership stakes, …


Annual Report 2019-2020, Ira M. Millstein Center For Global Markets And Corporate Ownership Jan 2020

Annual Report 2019-2020, Ira M. Millstein Center For Global Markets And Corporate Ownership

Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership

Looking back on the 2019-2020 academic year, we are pleased to reflect on another highly productive period for the Millstein Center.


Delaware's New Competition, William J. Moon Jan 2020

Delaware's New Competition, William J. Moon

Faculty Scholarship

According to the standard account in American corporate law, states compete to supply corporate law to American corporations, with Delaware dominating the market. This “competition” metaphor in turn informs some of the most important policy debates in American corporate law.

This Article complicates the standard account, introducing foreign nations as emerging lawmakers that compete with American states in the increasingly globalized market for corporate law. In recent decades, entrepreneurial foreign nations in offshore islands have used permissive corporate governance rules and specialized business courts to attract publicly traded American corporations. Aided in part by a select group of private sector …


Boards In Information Governance, Faith Stevelman, Sarah C. Haan Jan 2020

Boards In Information Governance, Faith Stevelman, Sarah C. Haan

Scholarly Articles

This Article focuses on the evolving role of boards of directors. It charts the decline of the two leading, twentieth-century conceptual frameworks shaping corporate boards’ roles: agency cost theory, which produced the limited “monitoring board,” and “separate realms” theory, which ceded board responsibility for matters other than profit maximization to government regulation. Hedge fund activism and wild stock market swings have exposed the limits of the board’s role in agency cost theory. The 2020 pandemic, economic crises, investors’ demands for socially responsible stewardship, and corporations’ own political activism have rendered separate realms thinking untenable.

Although much theorizing in corporate law …


The Law And Practice Of Shareholder Inspection Rights: A Comparative Analysis Of China And The United States, Robin H. Huang, Randall S. Thomas Jan 2020

The Law And Practice Of Shareholder Inspection Rights: A Comparative Analysis Of China And The United States, Robin H. Huang, Randall S. Thomas

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

Shareholder inspection rights allow a shareholder to access the relevant documents of the company in which they hold an interest, so as to address the problem of information asymmetry and reduce the agency costs inherent in the corporate structure. While Chinese corporate governance and American corporate governance face different sets of agency cost problems, this Article shows that shareholder inspection rights play an important role in both China and the United States. On the books, while shareholder inspection rights in both countries are broadly similar, there are some important differences on issues such as the proper purpose requirement. The empirical …


Singapore's Puzzling Embrace Of Shareholder Stewardship: A Successful Secret, Dan W. Puchniak, Samantha S. Tang Jan 2020

Singapore's Puzzling Embrace Of Shareholder Stewardship: A Successful Secret, Dan W. Puchniak, Samantha S. Tang

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

In the wake of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis (GFC), the United Kingdom created the first stewardship code, which was designed to transform its rationally passive institutional investors into actively engaged shareholders. In the UK corporate governance context, this idea made sense. Institutional investors collectively own a sizable majority of the shares in most of the United Kingdom's listed companies. In turn, if the UK stewardship code could incentivize them to effectively monitor management to act as "good shareholder stewards"--the managerial short-termism and excessive risk-taking, which were identified as contributors to the GFC, could be avoided.

The United Kingdom's idea …


Diversity Of Shareholder Stewardship In Asia: Faux Convergence, Gen Goto, Alan K. Koh, Dan W. Puchniak Jan 2020

Diversity Of Shareholder Stewardship In Asia: Faux Convergence, Gen Goto, Alan K. Koh, Dan W. Puchniak

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

Since the UK adopted the world's first stewardship code in 2010, stewardship codes have proliferated across Asia. Given the UK Code's prominence, it is tempting to assume that every other stewardship code performs the same function as the UK Code. This assumption belies the truth: all these codes--regardless of whether they have in fact drawn inspiration from the UK Code--have taken different trajectories due to each adopting its jurisdiction's distinctive institutional and legal context.

Using empirical evidence and in-depth case studies of stewardship in Japan and Singapore, this Article reveals how any reception of United Kingdom-style stewardship concepts is only …


Shareholder Collaboration, Jill E. Fisch, Simone M. Sepe Jan 2020

Shareholder Collaboration, Jill E. Fisch, Simone M. Sepe

All Faculty Scholarship

Two models of the firm dominate corporate law. Under the management-power model, decision-making power rests primarily with corporate insiders (officers and directors). The competing shareholder-power model defends increased shareholder power to limit managerial authority. Both models view insiders and shareholders as engaged in a competitive struggle for corporate power in which corporate law functions to promote operational efficiency while limiting managerial agency costs. As scholars and judges continue to debate the appropriate balance of power between shareholders and insiders, corporate practice has moved on. Increasingly, the insider–shareholder dynamic is collaborative, not competitive.

This Article traces the development of insider–shareholder collaboration, …


Corporate Law And The Myth Of Efficient Market Control, William W. Bratton, Simone Sepe Jan 2020

Corporate Law And The Myth Of Efficient Market Control, William W. Bratton, Simone Sepe

All Faculty Scholarship

In recent times, there has been an unprecedented shift in power from managers to shareholders, a shift that realizes the long-held theoretical aspiration of market control of the corporation. This Article subjects the market control paradigm to comprehensive economic examination and finds it wanting.

The market control paradigm relies on a narrow economic model that focuses on one problem only, management agency costs. With the rise of shareholder power, we need a wider lens that also takes in market prices, investor incentives, and information asymmetries. General equilibrium theory (GE) provides that lens. Several lessons follow from reference to this higher-order …


The Future (Public Company Boardroom) Is Female: From California Sb 826 To A Gender Diversity Listing Standard, Sunitha Malepati Jan 2020

The Future (Public Company Boardroom) Is Female: From California Sb 826 To A Gender Diversity Listing Standard, Sunitha Malepati

SENLC Papers & Reports

No abstract provided.


Global Investor-Director Survey On Climate Risk Management, Kristin Bresnahan, Jens Frankenreiter, Sophie L'Helias, Brea Hinricks, Nina Hodzic, Julian Nyarko, Sneha Pandya, Eric L. Talley Jan 2020

Global Investor-Director Survey On Climate Risk Management, Kristin Bresnahan, Jens Frankenreiter, Sophie L'Helias, Brea Hinricks, Nina Hodzic, Julian Nyarko, Sneha Pandya, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Changes in the global climate are having profound impacts on business operations, governance, and organizational management around the world. Boards of directors are searching for ways to account for these changes as they help guide their organizations, and investors are increasingly concerned about how these changes might impact their portfolios. This global survey, conducted by a team of researchers at the Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership at Columbia Law School and experts at LeaderXXchange, seeks to understand how – if at all – institutional investors and board directors incorporate climate-related issues in their investment decision …


Investment Bankers As Underwriters: Barbarians Or Gatekeepers? A Response To Brent Horton On Direct Listings, Anat Alon-Beck, Robert N. Rapp, John Livingstone Jan 2020

Investment Bankers As Underwriters: Barbarians Or Gatekeepers? A Response To Brent Horton On Direct Listings, Anat Alon-Beck, Robert N. Rapp, John Livingstone

Faculty Publications

Direct listing clearly has the potential to meaningfully disrupt the IPO process. Changes to permit primary offerings via direct listing will help private companies to overcome some of the obstacles imposed by our securities laws and listing rules. Primary offerings by direct listing would allow for a dramatic increase in efficiency in public offerings, providing further incentive for private companies to finally provide liquidity to their shareholders while saving on the tremendous cost associated with a more traditional IPO by eliminating the need for underwriters.

Despite the positive impacts that direct listings will have on the IPO process, in their …


Mixed Ownership Reform And Corporate Governance In China's State-Owned Enterprises, Jiangyu Wang, Tan Cheng-Han Jan 2020

Mixed Ownership Reform And Corporate Governance In China's State-Owned Enterprises, Jiangyu Wang, Tan Cheng-Han

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

This Article provides an early assessment of the impact on corporate governance of the most recent wave of reform of China's state-owned enterprises (SOEs) announced by the CCP in 2013, officially known as the mixed-ownership reform (MOR). It offers a comprehensive and detailed account of the background, policy and regulatory frameworks, and rationale of the MOR in light of the history of ownership reform in China. It also conducts empirical studies of the change in ownership and board composition in over 30 SOEs which have recently completed their MOR experiments, as well as several case studies. It observes that MOR's …


Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls: Fiduciary Duties In Venture Capital Backed Startups, Sarath Sanga, Eric L. Talley Jan 2020

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls: Fiduciary Duties In Venture Capital Backed Startups, Sarath Sanga, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Venture-capital-backed startups are often crucibles of conflict between common and preferred shareholders, particularly around exit decisions. Such conflicts are so common, in fact, that they have catalyzed an emergent judicial precedent – the Trados doctrine – that requires boards to prioritize common shareholders' interest and to treat preferred shareholders as contractual claimants. We evaluate the Trados doctrine using a model of startup governance that interacts capital structure, corporate governance, and liability rules. The nature and degree of inter-shareholder conflict turns not only on the relative rights and options of equity participants, but also on a firm's intrinsic value as well …


Corporate Governance And The Omnipresent Specter Of Political Bias, Stefan J. Padfield Jan 2020

Corporate Governance And The Omnipresent Specter Of Political Bias, Stefan J. Padfield

Marquette Law Review

Subject to important qualifications, corporate decision-makers are dutybound to maximize shareholder value. However, there is reason to believe corporate decision-makers are allowing their political biases to corrupt their decision-making. This Essay posits two related fact patterns that should concern advocates of good corporate governance. The first occurs when decision-makers expressly disavow any duty to maximize shareholder value, such as when Apple CEO, Tim Cook, told shareholders, “When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind, I don’t consider the bloody ROI [return on investment],” or when Ed Stack, the chairman and chief executive of Dick’s Sporting Goods, decided …


The Covid-19 Pandemic And Business Law: A Series Of Posts From The Oxford Business Law Blog, Gert-Jan Boon, Markus K. Brunnermeier, Horst Eidenmueller, Luca Enriques, Aurelio Gurrea-Martínez, Kathryn Judge, Jean-Pierre Landau, Marco Pagano, Ricardo Reis, Kristin Van Zwieten Jan 2020

The Covid-19 Pandemic And Business Law: A Series Of Posts From The Oxford Business Law Blog, Gert-Jan Boon, Markus K. Brunnermeier, Horst Eidenmueller, Luca Enriques, Aurelio Gurrea-Martínez, Kathryn Judge, Jean-Pierre Landau, Marco Pagano, Ricardo Reis, Kristin Van Zwieten

Faculty Scholarship

The COVID-19 Pandemic is the biggest challenge for the world since World War Two, warned UN Secretary General, António Guterres, on 1 April 2020. Millions of lives may be lost. The threat to our livelihoods is extreme as well. Job losses worldwide may exceed 25 million.

Legal systems are under extreme stress too. Contracts are disrupted, judicial services suspended, and insolvency procedures tested. Quarantine regulations threaten constitutional liberties. However, laws can also be a powerful tool to contain the effects of the pandemic on our lives and reduce its economic fallout. To achieve this goal, rules designed for normal times …


Fiduciary Blind Spot: The Failure Of Institutional Investors To Prevent The Illegitimate Use Of Working Americans' Savings For Corporate Political Spending, Leo E. Strine Jr. Jan 2020

Fiduciary Blind Spot: The Failure Of Institutional Investors To Prevent The Illegitimate Use Of Working Americans' Savings For Corporate Political Spending, Leo E. Strine Jr.

All Faculty Scholarship

For decades, American workers have been subjected to increasing pressure to become forced capitalists, in the sense that to provide for retirement for themselves, and to pay for college for their children, they must turn part of their income every month over to mutual funds who participate in 401(k) and 529 programs. These “Worker Investors” save for the long term, often hold portfolios that are a proxy for the entire economy, and depend on the economy’s ability to generate good jobs and sustainable growth in order for them to be able to have economic security. In recent years, there has …


Golden Parachutes And The Limits Of Shareholder Voting, Albert H. Choi, Andrew C.W. Lund, Robert Schonlau Jan 2020

Golden Parachutes And The Limits Of Shareholder Voting, Albert H. Choi, Andrew C.W. Lund, Robert Schonlau

Articles

With the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010, Congress attempted to constrain change-in-control payments (also known as “golden parachutes”) by giving shareholders the right to approve or disapprove such payments on an advisory basis. This Essay is the first to empirically examine the experience with the Say-on-Golden-Parachute (“SOGP”) vote. We find that unlike shareholder votes on proposed mergers, there is a significant amount of variation with respect to votes on golden parachutes. Notwithstanding the variation, however, the SOGP voting regime is likely ineffective in controlling golden parachute (“GP”) compensation. First, proxy advisors seem …


Toward A Mission Statement For Mutual Funds In Shareholder Litigation, Sean J. Griffith, Dorothy Lund Jan 2020

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

Faculty Scholarship

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 …