The challenges for company law caused by the rise of proxy advisors
PhD student: Mr A. Van Caenegem
Promotor: V. Colaert
Duration: 1/10/2019 - 30/9/2023
Proxy advisors are legal persons that analyse, on a professional and commercial basis, the corporate disclosure and other information of listed companies with a view to informing investors on how they should vote in the general assembly. The industry of proxy advisors emerged in the United States, developed further in the United Kingdom and is gaining influence on the European continent. The doctoral thesis answers the research question: "Is the legal framework in which proxy advisors operate when they give recommendations to institutional investors on how they should vote in the general assembly of listed companies in Belgium effective or should it be modified and if so, how?" First, the societal evolution that explains the increased usage of proxy advisors will be discussed. This evolution will be presented as an agency problem to create a clear economic image of the costs and benefits caused by the usage of proxy advisors. Thereafter, the legal framework in which proxy advisors operate will be discussed and evaluated and, if necessary, suggestions for its modification will be made.