ValuePickr Forum

Lack of minority shareholders activism

Lack of activism is either because of lack of regulations/power, resources, knowledge, enthusiasm, etc.

The case which I would like to bring forward is that of ONGC. Once, it was one of the biggest, respected and prestigious PSU and now its on its death bed. The government has milked it as per its convenience (giving Gujarat State Petro’s failed projects, buying HPCL, unviable pricing policies, etc.)

As a shareholder I wrote to investor relations dept many times but never got any reply. Unfortunately, even the institutional shareholders are also not raising any red flags.

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Solution:

Shareholder Activism,

Let me share my experience,

I have faced the same problem of poor communication from the company, not getting proper reply to queries at the AGM, etc.

(Companies are ready to have institutional investor/analyst meet with the institutions multiple times a year, but for a common shareholder some managements don’t even bother to properly reply to shareholder queries: these queries are genuine and insightful, perhaps too tough for management to answer)

Institutions V/S retail shareholders

Institutions have ability to arrange meets with the management, and have access to first-hand information. Instead of trying to change the management they would better act on the information and either buy or sell the stocks. This is information asymmetry.

Retail investors face the brunt of this practice.

Now why don’t retail investors start such activism?

There is a concept of “Free ridership problem”

For example: if your society compound has litter and garbage on it. Then if you put in the hard works and efforts to clean it, not only you but other society members will also derive benefit out of it, without doing anything.

Hence in free ridership problem, if the retail shareholder even do the hard work of activism, the benefits will be shares with other shareholders as well without them contributing anything.

So why would anyone work where the “effort to reward ratio” is skewed?

Improving the corporate governance

One way to improve the corporate governance of companies is by electing a small shareholder director.

Since this person is being appointed by us the small shareholder, we can be assured that the interest of retail investors and their queries are not ignored.

That shareholder communication is done in effective manner.

For this reason

I have started an initiate of “Shareholder Awareness program” (SAP).

There is a concept of SSD, small shareholder director to be appointed on the board after the nomination by 1000 small shareholders.

Here is the Blog I have created for the same purpose and here is the post link for the SSD

If this happens this would be the first time every SSD are appointed based on nomination of 1000 shareholders.

The target list of companies where we want to appoint the SSD is also ready.

Currently, working on gathering support of 1000 such investors.

If anyone else is planning on doing something similar, I would be willing to support it.

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