Can Independent Distribution Function as a Mode of Corporate Governance?: An Examination of the UK Life Insurance Market
This paper examines whether independent modesof distribution can act as effective externalmonitors of managerial action. Becauseindependent agents are owners of the clientlist, control of an essential cash-generatingasset is concentrated in the hands of informedpurchasers. A consequence of this concentrationis the ability of independent agents tochastise bad management by moving customers toalternative management teams. Therefore,insurance companies that use independent agentsshould exhibit lower levels of opportunisticbehaviour. By studying 42 UK life insurancecompanies over the period 1990–1997 this studyprovides evidence that independent agents doreduce life companies' free cash flow,managerial expenses and shareholder dividends,while increasing policyholders' reserves. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003
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