Past Event

Who Actually Controls Public Companies and in Whose Interest Are They Run?

October 11, 2016
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
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Columbia Law School, William and June Warren Hall, Room 417

Drawing from his decades’ long experience in stewardship and sustainable investment, Colin Melvin examined who actually controls companies and in whose interest they are run. He also argued that the financial system is dysfunctional as currently structured and propose some remedies for this. In doing so, Colin described an emerging obligation and opportunity for pension plans, endowments and other institutional investors with regard to business and the public good, which he characterizes as a shift in focus from short term transactions to longer term relationships. He proposed that such investors have a self-interested duty to engage with multinational corporations to promote international standards on human rights, environmental management and other issues material to the corporations’ success. Finally, Colin argued that the interests of the corporation and its shareholders and other stakeholders converge in the longer term and he presented some practical measures for promoting such convergence.

Colin Melvin is Global Head of Stewardship at Hermes Investment Management and Chair of Hermes Equity Ownership Services (Hermes EOS), the largest and most powerful shareholder activist worldwide. Between 2004 and January 2016 Colin was Chief Executive of Hermes EOS. He has been at the forefront of developments in corporate governance, sustainability and responsible investment for over 20 years and is an expert in the good management and direction of businesses. He is a qualified fund manager and member of the CFA Institute and was head of responsible investment at Baillie Gifford before joining Hermes in 2002. Colin is Chair of The Social Stock Exchange, a Business mentor at the Prince’s Trust and Visiting Fellow at the ICMA Centre at the UK’s Henley Business School. He is also a Board Member of the Principles for Responsible Investment and a Member of the 30% Club Investor Group. Colin holds an MA from Aberdeen University and an MPhil from Cambridge University (both in History), and Diplomas in Investment Analysis from Stirling University and Company Directorship from the Institute of Directors. He is a Chartered Director.