Fondazioni bancarie e sistema bancario: riassunto del convegno

4 commenti (espandi tutti)

Una brillante idea da Oxford: estendere alle società per azioni in generale il modello di controllo delle fondazioni bancarie.



 In a new book, “Firm Commitment”, Colin Mayer, of Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, takes a familiar argument—that shareholders have too much power—and gives it new life. The idea that the main function of companies is to boost shareholder value rests on a misunderstanding of the nature of the firm, he says. Companies are not owned by shareholders in the way that ordinary goods are owned. They are artificial persons with a distinct legal identity. Companies are not just devices for lowering transaction costs or bundling contracts together. They are devices for getting groups of people—workers and managers as well as investors—to commit themselves to long-term goals.

The doctrine of shareholder primacy is particularly dangerous when combined with dispersed ownership, he believes. Dispersed ownership (which often occurs when founding families sell shares to finance growth) leads to a separation between ownership and control. Managers exploit this separation to feather their own nests. Owners respond by relying on two devices—shareholder activism or the market for corporate control.

Mr Mayer concedes that dispersed shareholding produces benefits. It provides companies with liquidity, extends the role of professional managers and limits the ability of founding families to mess things up. But he worries that the costs are also mounting. The risk of a hostile takeover often reduces a company’s incentive to invest for the long-term. The temptation to trade firms rather than build them can hollow out even great institutions: witness the demise of Britain’s once-mighty General Electric Company (GEC). The ease with which traders can buy and sell shares means the fate of companies can be determined by people with no stake in their long-term success. Roger Carr, the chairman of Cadbury, a British food firm bought by Kraft after a bloody takeover battle, noted that “individuals controlling shares which they had owned for only a few days or weeks determined the destiny of a company that had been built over almost 200 years.”

Can anything be done to limit the damage done by such predatory behaviour? Mr Mayer thinks corporate social responsibility (CSR) is just hot air unless it changes the financial incentives of people who run companies. He worries that government regulation, at best, treats diverse organisations as if they are the same and, at worst, does more harm than good: the Bubble Act of 1720, introduced after the collapse of the South Sea Company, delayed the development of the joint-stock company by over a century.

He is more sympathetic to a third option—building long-termism into companies’ DNA. Many continental companies such as Germany’s ThyssenKrupp and Bosch are owned or partly owned by foundations that are obliged to take a long view. Germany saw only three hostile takeovers between 1945 and 2000. For all the talk of the “Anglo-Saxon model”, America is less wedded to shareholder power than Britain. American managers can call upon devices (such as “poison pills” and “staggered boards”) that make it harder for raiders to take them over. Tech firms often issue two classes of share (voting and non-voting) so that founders can remain in charge. Google crowed that this would “make it harder for outside parties to take over or influence Google”.

Mr Mayer wants to go further and create a new class of companies—trust companies. These would be overseen by a board of trustees who would be charged with balancing the interests of various stakeholders and ensuring that the companies lived up to their corporate values. They would also have recourse to different classes of shares with different degrees of power. Voting rights might be linked not just to how many shares you own but also to how long you have held them.



ha ispirato il saggio di oxford. almeno nella situazione del capitalismo italiano, bancario e non, le cure proposte sono il male che già ci affligge.

siam sistematicamente sottocapitalizzati, per un mucchio di ragioni antiche e moderne. chi ci metterà mai più una lira (concessione al vivace dibattito in corso :-)) nelle nostre imprese se queste dovessero anche accontentare una pletora di stakeholder della più varia origine, anche sedicenti, ma tutti famelici?

il tutto per evitare scalate ostili? e quando mai se ne è vista una che sia una dalle nostre parti? ce ne fossero di opa sulle nostre banche, a suon di bigliettoni!

Senza voler fare alcuna polemica, vorrei farti una domanda:

perché affermi che le banche italiane sono sistematicamente sottocapitalizzate se la capitalizzazione viene misurata con indicatori identici per tutte le banche internazionali, che sembrano dire qualcosa di diverso?

Se è vero ciò che sostieni, cioè che le banche hanno poco capitale, non si dovrebbe dire che non sono adeguati i ratio con cui si calcolano rischi e capitalizzazione e spostare il problema ad un livello almeno europeo piuttosto che a livello di singolo paese?

sono scritti sull'acqua, non c'è accordo su quale debba essere un livello adeguato e basilea 3 fatica cmq a partire, per ovvi motivi congiunturali. ma è in discussione la loro stessa ragion d'essere: quello che è successo dopo basilea due, non avrebbe MAI dovuto succedere. la stessa o anche maggiore incertezza la troviamo nella valutazione delle sofferenze. e le criticità sistemiche, dopo ben due tornate di stress-test, rimangono ancora da chiarire.


ma il vero punto debole è il dubbio che la governance irresponsabile comune a tutto il sistema bancario italiano abbia consentito altri "documenti dimenticati in un cassetto".  a tal proposito si può rileggere con amarezza un articolo a caso.

 posso riscrivere la mia affermazione: se succede qualche altro accidente, la capacità di ricapitalizzazione del nostro sistema bancario è esaurita, volendo mantenere gli stessi assetti di potere.