Asset managers get involved in the companies they own

EXECUTIVES have grown used to being nagged about their company’s strategy and governance by all and sundry. Activist hedge funds targeted 524 companies worldwide between January and June, compared with 570 in the whole of 2013 and 805 in 2017, according to Activist Insight, a research firm. Last year two big index-makers, S&P Dow Jones and FTSE Russell, excluded firms with multiple share classes from their flagship indices. On August 22nd Glass Lewis, a firm of “proxy advisers” which advises shareholders on how to vote, gainsaid the management of Sports Direct by urging the British retailer’s owners to evict its founder, Mike Ashley, from the board. Now hitherto quiescent big asset managers are sticking their oars in as well.

Institutional investors, which own the largest stakes in most listed firms, have conventionally deferred to proxy advisers in matters of corporate governance. A positive recommendation from Glass Lewis or Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), the two...

via Business Feeds

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