Are today’s businesses plagued by short-termism? The narrative is compelling. Executives cut investment to hit short-term earnings targets and trigger bonus payouts, the argument goes. They are egged on by short-term shareholders, who care only about making a quick buck, rather than growing the company for the long term. Moreover, long-term investments — such as reducing carbon emissions, developing blockbuster drugs, or training workers — benefit more than just shareholders. So, the charge that businesses are deprioritizing them leads to concerns [...]
Laura Schneider for HBR
If paying excessive CEO salaries is the most maligned use of corporate funds, stock buybacks may well take second place. Conventional wisdom is that CEOs buy back stock to manipulate the short-term stock price. They fund the buyback by cutting investment, and so firm value suffers in the long-term. As Senator Elizabeth Warren argued, “stock buybacks create a sugar high for the corporations. It boosts prices in the short run, but the real way to boost the value of a corporation is to invest in the future, and they are not doing that.” The UK Government is [...]
Steven Moore for HBR
What happens after a CEO visits the White House? For the most part, we just don’t know: U.S. presidents, Trump included, have kept their visitor logs private. President Obama, however, broke with long-standing tradition and made his public. While there’s plenty of debate around whether or not transparency around these logs has a broad impact, one thing is for certain: more than half a decade (2009-2015) of the comings and goings of S&P 1500 corporate executives, totaling more than 2,000 meetings in all, is a pretty useful data set. And it’s exactl [...]
Whistleblowers can play in a big role in uncovering financial misconduct. For example, look at Sherron Watkins, formerly of Enron, and Cynthia Cooper, formerly of WorldCom. Both women helped uncover massive frauds inside their organizations that ultimately cost investors billions of dollars.
Research suggests that employees are often in a position to discover and expose wrongdoing in organizations. This may be why the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act encourages employee whistleblowing: Section 922 of the Act promises to protect whistleblowers from retaliation and [...]
A cornerstone of efficient and transparent markets is freely available information. Information drives financial activity, and ensuring equitable access to that information is seen as critical to a well-functioning marketplace.
But does the mere action of placing a piece of financial news in the public domain make it readily seen and efficiently reflected in stock prices? According to my and others’ research, not necessarily.
In 2001 professors Gur Huberman and Tomer Regev of Columbia University drew attention to a peculiar sequence of market reactions to news regarding a cancer research [...]
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