Find opportunities for alignment between short and long-termism

May 22, 2013

With shareholder activism on the rise and impacting the director community in Canada, it has become imperative that directors find opportunities for alignment between short and long-termism, a panel of seasoned directors, executives and industry players urged during the 3rd annual Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) National Conference in Toronto.

“In an increasingly competitive global environment, it is critical that directors focus on overseeing the development of sustainable enterprise for the longer term, yet this can conflict with the demands of high-frequency traders, social media and shareholder activists with immediate and short-term investment horizons,” said Donna Soble Kaufman, Chair of the ICD. “If our ability to create and protect long-term value for the organizations we serve is in jeopardy, or conflicts with other interests, it is imperative that we find solutions to ensure we can continue to fulfill our fiduciary duties in a responsible and accountable way.”

Under the theme “Shareholder Activism: Short vs. Long-Termism,” many of Canada’s leading business minds gathered to discuss how shareholder activism affects the director’s ability to oversee strategy over the longer-term. The day comprised of three sessions that focused on: the lessons learned from, among others, the highly-publicized Canadian Pacific proxy contest; the role of media, proxy advisory firms and high frequency trading in shareholder activism; and discussions on the policy decisions needed to allow Canadian enterprise to grow and flourish.

“These thought provoking and frank discussions will certainly prove valuable as we navigate our way through this challenging and ever-changing territory,” said Stan Magidson, President and CEO of the ICD. “It’s clear from today’s attendance that there is great interest in the issue of shareholder activism, and I am pleased that the ICD National Conference has been able to serve as an effective platform for Canada’s director community to engage on this topic.”