Year of publication
- English (26) (remove)
- Rechtswissenschaft (26) (remove)
- Taking shareholder protection seriously? : Corporate governance in the United States and Germany (2003)
- The attitude expressed by Carl Fuerstenberg, a leading German banker of his time, succinctly embodies one of the principal issues facing the large enterprise – the divergence of interest between the management of the firm and outside equity shareholders. Why do, or should, investors put some of their savings in the hands of others, to expend as they see fit, with no commitment to repayment or a return? The answers are far from simple, and involve a complex interaction among a number of legal rules, economic institutions and market forces. Yet crafting a viable response is essential to the functioning of a modern economy based upon technology with scale economies whose attainment is dependent on the creation of large firms.
- European company law beyond the 2003 action plan (2007)
- This paper will sketch out some of the developments in European company law as seen from the current moment, which might be referred to as post- 2003 Action Plan, and from my purely personal viewpoint. I will thus restrict myself to presenting the current and expected legislative projects of the EU, with particular focus on the plans and activities of the Commission, and for the moment bracket out both a number of important and interesting decisions of the European Court of Justice and the debates among European legal scholars.
- The European Model Company Law Act project (2008)
- On 27 and 28 September 2007, a commission formed on the initiative of the authors held its first meeting in Aarhus, Denmark to deliberate on its goal of drafting a "European Model Company Law Act" (EMCLA). This project, outlined in the following pages, aims neither to force a mandatory harmonization of national company law nor to create a further, European corporate form. The goal is rather to draft model rules for a corporation that national legislatures would be free to adopt in whole or in part. Thus, the project is thought as an alternative and supplement to the existing EU instruments for the convergence of company law. The present EU instruments, their prerequisites and limits will be discussed in more detail in Part II, below. Part III will examine the US experience with such "model acts" in the area of company law. Part IV will then conclude by discussing several topics concerning the content of an EMCLA, introducing the members of the EMCLA Working Group, and explaining the Group's preliminary working plan.
- Shareholder voting in Germany (1999)
- Shareholder voting is back on the agenda of public debate for several reasons. One is the investors’ internationalization of capital investments and the raising of funds globally by companies. It can be predicted that considering the growing together of capital markets the trend to international investments will increase not least because the introduction of the Euro will create a uniform European stock market. This leads to the question how the law deals with this development and its problems. The EU Commission has commissioned a comparative study dealing, inter alia, with shareholders’ representation at general meetings in the EU member states.1 The aim is to simplify the operating regulations for public limited companies in the EU. Furthermore, the internationalization of shareholdings leads the investors to ask how their interests are protected abroad. Are the mechanisms of shareholder protection sufficient for foreign investors? In particular the formation of transnational companies like Daimler-Chrysler will change corporate governance systems. It remains to be seen whether and how foreign institutional investors will use measures of - in this case - German corporate law to control the management. From a microeconomic point of view the question is what specific features of a given corporate governance system might contribute to better performance of firms. The following remarks will however, be confined to one specific aspect of corporate governance only, the exercise of shareholders’ voting rights at the general meeting.
- The German banking system : system of the future? (1993)
- In early 1991 the United States Treasury Department of the Bush Administration recommended in ib proposal for Modemizing The FinancialSystem l that, in addition to other remarkable breaks with the traditional United States financial Services framework, the current bank holding Company structure be replaced with a new financial Services holding Company that would reward banks with the ability to engage in a broad new range of financial activities through separate afbliates, including full-service securities, insurance, and mutual fund activities. The Treaaury Department pointed out that commercial banking and investment banking are complementary Services and that the Glass-Steagall Separation was unnecessary. The Treasury Department gave many reasons for the need for financial modernization and why such a modemized System would work better. As an example that demonstrates the advantages of the System proposed by the Treasury Department, the proposal pointed to the German banks and called the German model of a universal banking System the most liberal banking System in the world. -What makes the German universal banking System so unique and desirable? The following outline of the history and the current structure of the Getman banking System is intended to give readers a background tc determine whether the German banking System could be a model for the System of the future.
- Universal banks and investment companies in Germany (1995)
- Universal banking means that banks are permitted to offer all of the various kinds of financial services. This includes classical banking activities like the credit and deposit business, as well as investment services, placement and brokerage of securities, and even insurance activities, trading in real estate and others. German universal banks also hold stock in nonfinancial firms and offer to vote their clients' shares in other firms. This paper deals with universal banks and their role in the investment business, more specifically, their links with investment companies and their various roles as shareholders and providers of financial services to such companies. Banks and investment companies have, as financial intermediaries, one trait in common: they both transform capital of investors (depositors and shareholders of investment funds, respectively) into funds (loans and equity or debt securities, respectively) that are channeled to other firms. So why should a regulation forbid to combine these transformation tasks in one institution or group, and why should the law not allow banks to establish investment companies and provide all kinds of financial services to them in addition to their banking services? German banking and investment company law have answered these questions in the affirmative. This paper argues that the existing regulation is not a sound and recommendable one. The paper is organized as follows: Sections II - V identify four areas where the combination of banking and investment might either harm the shareholders of the investment funds and/or negatively affect other constituencies such as the shareholders of the banking institution. These sections will at the same time explore whether there are institutional or regulatory provisions in place or market forces at work that adequately protect investors and the other constituencies in question. Concluding remarks follow (VI.).
- Corporate governance systems in Europe : differences and tendencies of convergence ; Crafoord lecture (1996)
- The corporate governance systems in Europe differ markedly. Economists tend to use stylized models and distinguish between the Anglo-American, the German and the Latinist model.1 In this view, for instance, the Austrian, Dutch, German, and Swiss systems are said to be variations of one model. For lawyers the picture is of course, much more detailed as particular rules may vary even where common principles prevail. Many comparative studies on these differences have been undertaken meanwhile.2 I do not want to add another study but to treat a different question. Are there as a consequence of growing internationalization, globalization of markets and technological change, also tendencies of convergence of our corporate governance systems? My answer will be in two parts. As corporate governance systems are traditionally mainly shaped by legislation, the first part will analyze the influence of the economic and technological change on the rule-setting process itself. How does this process react to the fundamental environmental change? That includes a short analysis of the solution of centralized harmonizing of company law within the EU as well as the question of whether EU-wide competition between national corporate law legislators can be observed or be expected in the future. The second part will then turn to the national level. It deals with actual tendencies of convergence or, more correctly, of approach by the German corporate governance system to the Anglo-American one.