Use shareholder rights to improve your returns

CalPERS (California Public Employees’ Retirement system)

After pursuing corporate reforms, CalPERS (California Public Employees’ Retirement system), the largest pension fund in the state, took to public statements on subjects such as corporate governance, investment in tobacco firms, Sudan, South Africa, and the independence of audit committees.

Over a period from 1992-2005, the activism of CalPERS focus list firms created small but positive yields seen by market reactions of 23 basis points totalling a shareholder value of $3.1 billion. These shareholder proposals at firms chosen by CalPERS were designed to increase shareholder rights’.

There is a strong correlation which suggests that improving shareholder rights increases shareholder value.

Monitoring the Monitor: Evaluating CalPERS’ Activism, Barber, Brad. (Working Paper, UC Davis, 2006)