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Showing posts from August, 2018

Trust and Shareholder Voting

Theory as well as empirical studies suggest that voting at annual general shareholder meetings (AGMs) creates value. Indeed, voting gives shareholders a final say on major company decisions, such as appointments to the board of directors and the approval of takeover offers. It also enables shareholders to show their support the current management or to disagree with the latter. It is then somewhat surprising that, on average, voter turnout at AGMs is only about 60%. Still, the average voter turnout varies across the world with a minimum of 41% for New Zealand and a maximum of 100% for Cyprus. Moreover, the average approval rates for management-initiated proposals vary between 84% and 100%.

In a study with Peter Limbach and Simon Lesmeister, we propose the level of trust in others that prevails in a country has an effect on shareholder voting and explains differences in voting patterns across countries. The economics literature (see e.g. Zak and Knack 2001) finds that trust increases e…

How Acquisition Performance Affects the Market for Non-Executive Directors

In the United Kingdom, successive codes of best practice in corporate governance have highlighted the important role of outside or non-executive directors in ensuring that corporations are run for the benefit of their shareholders. While the first code of best practice, the 1992 Cadbury Report, recommended that there should be a sufficient number of non-executives on the board, the 2003 Higgs Report was much more prescriptive, recommending that there should be a majority of non-executives on the board (excluding the chairman). Similarly, U.S. regulation has been emphasizing the important role of independent or non-executive directors. More specifically, the NYSE and NASDAQ listing rules require companies to have a majority of independent directors. Despite many national regulators pushing for greater non-executive presence on boards, there are few academic studies finding evidence that a greater proportion of non-executives improve firm performance or value. Indeed, most studies do n…