One Fundamental Corporate Governance Question We Face: Can Corporations Be Managed for the Long Term Unless Their Powerful Electorates Also Act and Think Long Term?

NIETZER&HÄUSLER ist Mitglied in der Business Law Section der American Bar Association, und als solches möchten wir auf einen sehr guten Artikel in The Business Lawyer, Vol.66, Nov. 2010 von Leo E. Strine zum Thema Kurzfrist(Boni)denke des Managements, Notwendigkeit Langfristigen Handelns und Corporate Governance  hinweisen. Treffend und auf den Punkt gebracht! Hier der vollständige Artikel:  TBL Corporate Governance

Zusammenfassung. This essay poses the question of how corporations can be managed to promote long-term growth if their stockholders do not act and think with the long term in mind. To that end, the essay highlights the underlying facts regarding how short a time most stockholders, including institutional investors, hold their shares, the tension between the institutional investors’ incentive to think short term and the best interests of not only the corporations in which these investors buy stock, but also with the best interests of the  institutional investors’ own clients, who are saving to pay for college for their kids and for their own retirement. Although the primary purpose of the essay is to highlight this fundamental and too long ignored tension in current corporate governance, the essay also identifi es some modest moves to better align the incentives of institutional investors with those of the people whose money they manage,in an effort to better focus all those with power within the corporation—i.e., the directors, the managers, and the stockholders—on the creation of durable, long-term wealth through the sale of useful products and services .

The kind of mature, hard thinking required to help boards and managers perform better is not easy to accomplish. It requires, though, that the agenda setters of corporate governance spend far less time tracking quarterly performance or pushing
their latest product or idea de jour, 81 and more time acting as old-fashioned investors.


Investors eschew buying the stock of corporations that rely on gimmicks and put their money in corporations that generate real cash fl ows through product and service sales. Investors do not care to pump up stock prices in the short term if that endangers the firm’s solvency and long-term growth prospects. Investors want boards and managers to avoid excessive leverage, to comply with the law, and to make sound, long-term capital investments. Investors want boards and managers to spend their time developing, perfecting, and implementing the firm’s business strategy and addressing the major risks to the success of that strategy, and not plowing through a huge checklist of particular mandates.

In sum, real investors want what we as a society want and we as end-user, individual investors want; which is for corporations to create sustainable wealth. Until, however, the institutions who control and churn American stocks actually act and think like investors themselves, it is unrealistic to think that the corporations they infl uence will be well-positioned to advance that widely shared objective. So long as many of the most infl uential and active investors continue to think short term, it is unrealistic to expect the corporate boards they elect to strike the proper balance between the pursuit of profi ts through risky endeavors and the prudent preservation of value. Rather, to foster sustainable economic growth, stockholders themselves must act like genuine investors, who are interested in the creation and preservation of long-term wealth, not short-term movements in stock prices.

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