Octobre, 18, 2019
at AXA – 21 Avenue Matignon – Paris
Introduction: prospects on the evolution of governance rules, statistics and the evolution of activism in France
- Robert Ophèle, AMF
Round table 1: Forms of corporate control
The capital structure of US and UK listed firms are very different from the capital structure of French and German ones’. Is it possible to talk about strong majority shareholders and weak minority shareholders in France and in continental Europe more globally? To what extent has the Florange law has been able to increase this phenomenon? What are the positive and negative effects of the controlling shareholder model? To what extent does this configuration change the shareholder activism of investment funds and pension funds?
- Thomas Bourveau, Assistant Professor at Columbia University
- Olivier Fortesa, Managing Partner at Amber Capital
- Jiri Krol, Deputy CEO at AIMA
Round table 2: Shareholder collaboration
Increasingly, the insider-shareholder dynamic seems to be collaborative, not competitive, but do French CEO agree on this? Collaboration seemed to originate in the venture capital context and then moved on in other sectors. Research papers (Fisch, Sepe) have shown that we now see an expansion of collaboration into public companies; corporations today face partial information costs that, for many firms, have grown costlier than agency costs. collaboration promotes the production and aggregation of the partial information of insiders and shareholders, adding value that is lost under unilateral decision-making by either the board or the shareholders. What is the future of shareholder activism from this perspective?
- Michel Albouy, Université Grenoble
- Angus Milne, Director Risk & Compliance at TCI
- Paola Perotti, CEO at GO Investment Partners
Round table 3: The rise of green activism
Environmental activism is on the rise: with pension funds getting more active and some activist funds incorporating a sustainability agenda, the potential impact of shareholders over non-financial concerns is a rather newly acknowledged phenomenon. Yet, this illustrates how shareholder activism may contribute to the defining of a long-term value-creating strategy for companies and suggests that their influence on governance issues is far from being limited to short-term financial performance. The fact that hedge funds (such as ValueAct Capital, with the recent creation of ValueAct Spring fund, or other funds such as BlackRock, who has a special offer for clients willing to invest in socially and environmentally responsible companies), environmental activism is no longer a marginal aspect of shareholder activism.
How can we explain such a growing importance of environmental shareholder activism? How will ESG risks and sustainability concerns predictably impact the governance of French and European companies in the near future?
- Alexis Masse, Strategic advisor at GRDF and President of the responsible investment forum
- Edouard Dubois, Director at Blackrock
- Cedric Laverie, Head of France governance research