The Case for Mandatory Ownership Disclosure
AbstractThe use of equity derivatives to conceal economic ownership of shares (“hidden ownership”) is increasingly drawing attention from the financial community, as is the exercise of voting power without corresponding economic interest (“empty voting”). Market participants and commentators have called for expansion of ownership disclosure rules, and policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic are now contemplating how to respond. Yet, in order to design appropriate responses it is key to understand why we have ownership disclosure rules in the first place. This understanding currently appears to be lacking, which may explain why we observe divergent approaches between countries. The case for mandatory ownership disclosure has also received remarkably little attention in the literature, which has focused almost exclusively on mandatory issuer disclosure. Perhaps this is because most people assume that ownership disclosure is a good thing. But why is such information important, and to whom? This paper aims to answer these fundamental questions, using the European disclosure regime as an example. First, the paper identifies two main objectives of ownership disclosure: improving market efficiency and corporate governance. Next, the paper explores the various mechanisms through which ownership disclosure performs these tasks. This sets the stage for an analysis of hidden ownership and empty voting that demonstrates why these phenomena are so problematic.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 14139.
Date of creation: 08 Mar 2009
Date of revision: 13 Mar 2009
ownership disclosure; market efficiency; corporate governance; monitoring; hidden ownership; empty voting; hedge fund activism;
Other versions of this item:
- K20 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - General
- G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
- K22 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Business and Securities Law
- G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
- G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
- G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-04-25 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2009-04-25 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-LAW-2009-04-25 (Law & Economics)
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