The European Corporate Governance Institute
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Press Coverage about the ECGI

Below are abstracts and links to some recent coverage in the media about the ECGI. Please note that many of the articles are available only through subscription to the newspaper/journal in question.

Socialist ideal that tied up Swedish riches
Date Financial Times 16 October 2003
Authors Peter Hogfeldt
Abstract Not despite but because of strong Social Democratic political influence since 1932, control of the largest listed firms in Sweden has remained firmly in the hands of a few old families and banks via pyramids and by extensive use of dual-class shares.

A combination of wealth, inheritance and capital gains taxes locked capital into the established firms while heavy tax subsidization of retained earnings and R&D spending supported growth by stimulating investments, often in very large projects joint with the government.
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France has the fattest cats
Date Financial Times 23 June 2003
Authors Paul Betts
Abstract The French excel in many things: good food and wine, mathematics, haute couture, love-making, rugby, handball - and, somewhat surprisingly, in the art of paying handsomely the patrons of their largest listed companies.

Research* by a group of academics affiliated to the Brussels-based European Corporate Governance Institute on reported pay practices among FTSE Eurotop 300 companies reveals that French bosses earn more.

Executive Remuneration in the EU: Comparative Law and Practices. By Guido Ferrarini, University of Genoa ; Niamh Moloney, Queen's University, Belfast; Cristina Vespro, Université Libre de Bruxelles

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INSIDE TRACK: Italy's firm family ties
Date Financial Times: March 24, 2003
Authors Paul Betts
Abstract Managerial capitalism is taking root. But the country's tradition of public companies controlled by powerful founding families is not yet ready to bow out.
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INSIDE TRACK: Takeovers that broke family ties
Date Financial Times: February 4, 2003
Authors Julian Franks, Colin Mayer and Stefano Rossi
Abstract Families dominate the ownership of many corporations. The Peugeots in France, the Quandts in Germany (who run BMW) and the Agnellis in Italy control some of the biggest global companies. Yet family power is virtually absent from the ownership of large UK and US corporations. Share ownership in the UK is dispersed among a large number of individual and institutional investors.Why has this difference emerged? One widely cited explanation is regulation. The UK has an unusually rigorous system of investor protection for small, minority investors. The clearest example of this is in takeovers. The UK has a takeover code that requires acquiring companies to offer all shareholders of the target company the same price for their shares.
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INSIDE TRACK: The complex evolution of family affairs
Date Financial Times: February 3, 2003
Authors Marco Becht, Paul Betts and Randall Morck
Abstract

In a series of monthly articles, the FT will chart the evolution of the great mercantile dynasties of the UK, Italy, India, Canada, Japan, China, France, Germany, the US, the Netherlands and Sweden. The articles will examine how family ownership has developed and look at why corporate control varies so much between countries.

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Taking stock of options
Date FT Special Reports / FT fund management; January 26, 2003
Author By Paul Betts
Abstract Executive pay provoked regular political and public uproar well before the recent rash of corporate scandals.

During a round table discussion organised by the European Corporate Governance Institute in Brussels, Bengt Holmstrom, Paul A Samuelson Professor of Economics at MIT, kicked off saying that stock options had been an important lubricant for corporate restructuring in the US in the 1990s and played a key role in motivating and changing the mindset of executives.

At the same round table in Brussels, Count Maurice Lippens, chairman of Fortis, the Belgo-Dutch financial services group, brought everybody back to earth. If existing corporate governance rules had been applied, the cross-border merger in 1990 between a Dutch and a Belgian insurance company would never have occurred. That has not stopped the merged group expanding its assets from €28bn in 1990 to €500bn today.
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PEOPLE: Corporate governance institute names academics
Date Financial Times; July 15, 2002  
Author By Paul Betts  
Abstract

The recently constituted European Corporate Governance Institute has appointed 21 distinguished academics as inaugural fellows to provide intellectual leadership for the Brussels-based organisation. The ECGI was founded this year as an international scientific non-profit association to provide a forum for debate and dialogue between academics, legislators, policymakers and practitioners on corporate governance and the promotion of best practice - an issue that is now topping the political and business agenda following a series of corporate scandals in the US.

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INSIDE TRACK: A threat to dual-class shares
Date Financial Times; May 31, 2002  
Author By Lucian Bebchuk and Oliver Hart  
Abstract The report by the high-level group of company law experts contains much that is sensible about takeover policy. However, there is one element of the report - the breakthrough rule - whose import goes well beyond the regulation of takeovers. Much of what the report seeks to accomplish would not require this rule. And the rule would have significant and possibly undesirable consequences for ownership patterns.
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Viewpoint: Fighting the wrong problem
Date Financial Times; May 31, 2002  
Author By Erik Berglof and Mike Burkart  
Abstract European capitalism is to be given a new face. The report by a group of experts led by Jaap Winter seeks to open up Europe for corporate takeovers by letting the all-powerful manager replace the controlling shareholder at the helm. After decades of failed attempts and a stinging defeat in the European parliament last year, the European Commission remains committed to a pan-European takeover directive. It thinks that more takeovers will lead to more restructuring, and Europe badly needs more restructuring.
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Borges's fundraising advice
Date Institutional Investor (International Edition - Europe) February 2002
Abstract Can an academic group studying corporate governance solicit cash from companies without sacrificing its integrity? Antonio Borges, Chairman of the European Corporate Governance Institute, thinks so. How? "You take corporate money," he says, "but you take it from a wide a range of corporate sponsors as possible."
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The educated approach to a well-run company
Date Financial Times; January 31, 2002
Author Paul Betts
Abstract The economic slowdown has made investors focus on how businesses are managed. A new European body aims to deepen their understanding.
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Reprint available from the ECGI Secretariat

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY: Good governance goal for Europe
Date Financial Times; January 15, 2002  
Author Paul Betts  
Abstract

A pan-European research centre is to be launched in Brussels today to improve cross-border scrutiny in European corporate governance.

The constitution of the European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) coincides with an increase in shareholder activism in continental Europe and efforts by the European Commission and EU

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