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Risk, shareholder pressure and short-termism in financial institutions: does enlightened shareholder value offer a panacea?

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Abstract:

Several reasons have been given for the advent of the global financial crisis in 2007. This paper takes one of the reasons, namely the fact that over-leverage and excessive risks were embraced by many financial institutions, and enquires as to why these institutions engaged in such practice. The paper suggests that one of the primary catalysts for this action was a focus on short-termism. The study focuses on two particular elements that led to short-termism, namely an emphasis on quarterly earnings and pressure from shareholders. Consideration is given to the fact that the UK government has endeavoured to encourage less of a focus on short-termism and a greater focus on long-term approach. The paper discusses the government?s attempt to do this via the principle of ?enlightened shareholder value?. The paper then examines whether developments in UK company law and the government?s implementation of enlightened shareholder value in the Companies Act 2006 is likely to provide a sufficient measure that will go some way to ensuring that boards will not engage in excessive risk-taking in the future and will refrain from embracing short-termism.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5235/175214411798411095

Publication date: November 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Law and Financial Markets Review is a new, independent, English language journal devoted to providing high quality information, comment and analysis for lawyers specialising in banking and financial market issues and to others with interests in legal and regulatory developments affecting the financial markets. Published bi-monthly LFMR contains articles written by leading experts providing a forum for practical guidance on, as well as reflective and topical analysis of, all major jurisdictions, with a particular focus on the interaction between the law and market practice and behaviour.
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