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Proxy advisory firms give a boost to shareholder activism

Long restricted to lone rangers, shareholder activism is now more structured, analytical and sophisticated Mumbai: For the last 27 years, Tamal Kumar Mazumdar has been attending the annual general meetings (AGMs). In the last 10 years, he has begun travelling from his hometown Kolkata to Mumbai and Delhi to be in the shareholder meets of some of the 120-odd listed companies in which he holds shares. Prior to these meetings, Mazumdar, 47 and an independent financial analyst, spends weeks poring over annual reports. He often ends up as the lone dissenting voice in the large auditoriums that typically host these meetings...
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MFs take activist stance at shareholder meetings

The voting records of top equity mutual funds in the country show that some of India’s top mutual funds have started taking an activist stance. While some other funds either voted in favour of company resolutions or abstained from voting, RelianceMutual Fund’s and SBI Mutual Fund’s voting pattern showed they spent time studying the resolutions and voted against some of the resolutions proposed by companies’ management. Voting by mutual funds in annual general meetings (AGMs) and extraordinary general meetings (EGMs) for portfolio companies are to be disclosed on their websites as per a Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) directive....
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Investor advisory firm seeks change in Infosys’ auditors

Minority shareholders are in a fighting mood. A few months ago, The Children Investment Fund (TCI) took the Coal India management to task for kowtowing to government babus on matters like pricing and fuel supply agreements. But now activism is being ignited on many fronts, by many players. Institutional Investor Advisory Services India Ltd (IIAS), which advices institutions on corporate issues, has advised shareholders of Infosys, which held its annual general meeting on Saturday (9 June), to vote against a resolution seeking the reappointment of its statutory auditors BSR & Co. According to a Business Standard report, IIAS  has recommended that ...
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Rise of shareholder activism

Infosys, Coal India, Akzo Nobel and Vedanta have run up against shareholders who are not afraid to ask searching questions, even if they happen to be minority shareholders. India Inc can no longer expect shareholders to remain calm if their rights are trampled upon. Not just big institutional investors, but even minority shareholders are now turning increasingly assertive to influence corporate decision-making. Recent developments in the financial markets and in business practices suggest a growing trend in shareholder activism, wherein investors attempt to influence management and corporate practices by raising uncomfortable questions to the top guns of India Inc. INSTANCES OF...
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Does your fund manager really protect your interest?

Earlier this week, 55% of the shareholders of Citigroup created a major flutter on Wall Street when they blocked a proposal to raise CEO Vikram Pandit's remuneration to $15 million for 2011 from a token $1 in 2010. American shareholders have a say on the pay of corporate executives and across the West, institutional shareholders take an active interest in the way managements run companies. Still, the Citi revolt took every Wall Street watcher by surprise. What about India? Investor activism is yet to take root here, and in the few instances where minority investors have intervened, they have had little...
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