The shareholder proposal has long been an effective tool for shareholders to bring emerging corporate governance issues to the attention of a company’s board of directors, its managers, and their fellow shareholders. Over time, shareholder proposals have driven a variety of governance reforms, from eliminating staggered boards to adopting majority voting in director elections. Although the subjects of shareholder proposals vary substantially, and some fade quickly into obscurity, others gradually build sufficient support leading not only to their implementation but to their incorporation into future standards of good governance.
At the same time, shareholder proposals are controversial. Critics argue that … Read more
Purpose is currently one of the hottest topics in corporate governance. Commentators are demanding not only that corporations formally articulate a purpose, but that the corporate purpose embrace the interests of non-shareholder stakeholders or society more generally. In August 2019, the Business Roundtable issued a new statement on the purpose of the corporation, which replaced its former support for shareholder primacy with the proposition that corporations be run “for the benefit of all stakeholders – customers, employees, suppliers, communities, and shareholders.” Shareholders have followed up, and several introduced shareholder proposals during the 2020 proxy season asking signatories of the … Read more
It has been 20 years since the European Court of Justice issued its decision in Centros Ltd. v. Erhvervs – og Selskabsstyrelsen (Centros). Since that time, Centros has been widely understood as shifting the European Union (EU) from the real seat doctrine, in which a corporation is governed by the corporate law of the country in which it is headquartered, to an era of increased corporate mobility. Specifically Centros, together with subsequent decisions, allowed EU corporations, by incorporating in another jurisdiction, to choose their governing corporate law deliberately.
In our working paper, “Centros, California’s ‘Women on … Read more
Issuers, investors, and regulators are paying increasing attention to corporate sustainability. Commentators have proffered a variety of explanations for this attention ranging from the argument that corporations are morally obligated to act in a socially responsible manner to the claim that sustainability is linked to economic performance. Responding to the demand for sustainability information, issuers are producing hundreds of pages of sustainability reports, and the number of intermediaries that have developed reporting standards and sustainability rating systems has proliferated. The range of approaches to disclosure, however, limit the comparability and reliability of the information disclosed, and investors repeatedly express dissatisfaction … Read more
In June 2014, the Supreme Court issued its second decision in the Halliburton securities fraud litigation.[i] Halliburton II reaffirmed the court’s prior decision in Basic Inc. v. Levinson,[ii] which provided plaintiffs in federal securities fraud litigation with a presumption of reliance based on the fraud on the market theory. Halliburton II also heightened the importance for both plaintiffs and defendants of using event studies at the class certification stage in order to address price impact. Price impact concerns whether allegedly fraudulent statements significantly affected market price. Event studies had already become a critical litigation tool for establishing … Read more
In its recent decision in United States v. Newman, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit provided important guidance on the scope of insider trading liability. The case concerned the liability of two hedge fund managers, Anthony Chiasson and Todd Newman, who were alleged to be members of a group of financial analysts who shared information about various publicly-traded companies. Chiasson and Newman were so-called “remote tippees” in that they were each multiple levels removed from the sources of the information – insiders at Dell and Nvidia. Neither defendant was alleged to have had direct … Read more