Die von der Europäischen Wertpapieraufsichtsbehörde (ESMA) initiierte Arbeit an einem Verhaltenskodex für Stimmrechtsberater zeigt erste Früchte. Der Entwurf eines Verhaltenskodex wurde vorgelegt: Best Practice Principles for Governance Research Providers. Der Entwurf ist jetzt zur Konsultation gestellt. Stellungnahmen können bis zum 20. Dezember 2013 abgegeben werden. Nach Auswertung soll die endgültige Fassung im Frühjahr 2014 vorgestellt werden.
Als neutraler Vertreter des öffentlichen Interesses und unabhängiger Chairman der Arbeitsgruppe hat Prof. Dr. Dirk Zetzsche, LL.M. (Toronto), Professor für Bank- und Finanzmarkrecht in Liechtenstein und einer der hiesigen Direktoren des Instituts für Unternehmensrechts, an den Beratungen mitgewirkt. Im Übrigen sind sechs Vertreter von Unternehmen aus der Branche der Stimmrechtsberater beteiligt.
Ich entschuldige mich, aber mein Deutsch ist ein bisschen eingeröstet –und mein Englisch auch!-
Who’s afraid of the big, bad Proxy Advisor?
Proxy advisors are seen by many as the spurious sons of an artificial and forced shareholders’ activism. They merely sell an insurance against critics for the insitutional shareholders and making so have become lawmakers, empty voters and controlling shareholders in the shadow, filled with unbearable conflicts of interest. They seem more or less behemoths, and the poor old Boards tremble at the thought of them, and kneel begging for gracious approval of their fair propositions…One might say, quoting Cassius, “Upon what meat doth this our Caesar [name you favourite Proxy advisory firm] feed, // That he is grown so great? Age, thou art shamed!”
Let’s be serious. I think that the corporations are overreacting. The real power of the Proxy advisors is still a matter to be empirically determined and proved, and that is an almost impossible task: the “Post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy does not and never will allow an exact proof of the real influence of these advisors. What seems undeniable, on the contrary, is that a good and efficient comunication policy of the corporation toward their shareholders can overcome an erroneus or uninformed advice from one of these firms or from the most reputed economic newspaper. And a duly interpretation of the fiduciary duties of the institutional investors toward their propietors also can correct bad counsel of these advisors. The only thing to do is to ask these advisors to do they work well, with care and loyalty. And the ones to ask for it are their principals, i.e., their clients. And is strange to see that are the issuers and not the institutional investors those who are really concerned about their work, perhaps because, in fact, the institutional investors do not really care about it…
Wouldn’t it be strange if, for instance, the Ford corporation would demand the correct repairing of their cars by a certain workshop chain but the owners of the cars would’nt complain at all? A bad repairing harms the Company reputation, it’s true, but in the end is the owner who rides the car –and risks his life-…
I really think that besides an increased transparency, not much can be done. The dilligence of the issuers in giving a full and good information and, specially, the duty of the institutional shareholders in requiring and processing that information can not be limited or outsourced. On the contrary, must be increased. Anyway, the codification of the duties of care and loyalty of the Proxy advisors will always be wellcomed! Let’s stay tuned!