FT - Activists Become Wolves in Sheep’s ClothingSquareWell Partners survey demonstrates active managers’ approach to activism 21 July 2019
SquareWell Partners has undertaken a survey targeting active managers’ opinions coupled with their approaches to activists and the situations they entail. As published in the Financial Times, activists have been criticised for seeking short-term gains only, however this is not the complete picture.
Ali Saribas comments that “Activists view governance as a tool”, which is supported by 87% of active fund managers – covering $10.4 trillion in assets – stating they are more likely to support an activist situation if it regards improving corporate governance.
Additionally, activists will often align their interests with guidelines published by proxy advisors. Investors may use proxy advisors to decide how to vote at shareholder meetings. Rich Thomas, Head of Lazard’s European shareholder advisory practice, states that “investors now take a global perspective and expect similar standards of governance wherever they are in the world.”
According to Activist Insight, 53 companies in Europe were targeted with board-related demands in the first half of 2019, compared with 93 in all of 2018. The UK has seen a large rise, with 25 companies targeted with board-related demands in the first half of 2019, compared with 17 in 2018.
The full article can be reached here.
The complete activism survey can be requested here.
Activist investors are expected to launch more and bolder campaigns for change among European companies in the year ahead, advisers told Reuters, after a record number in 2023.
AQTION, a subsidiary of SquareWell Partners, published its inaugural study – ‘Stewardship in AQTION’ – which details how the world’s largest 65 asset managers and owners steward their portfolio companies and how they incorporate extra-financial considerations into their investment decision-making processes.
Carl Icahn is preparing for a second board battle at gene-sequencing company Illumina after shareholders elected his candidate, Andrew Teno, to the company’s board and ousted the chairman, John Thompson, in May. Icahn then successfully pushed out former CEO Frances DeSouza in June.