Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

Last year small shareholders discovered the powers of the new Companies Act. With the backing of the act a few heroic souls joined Theo Botha to rescue the investment community from the somnambulant approach of our institutional shareholders. That’s the approach that tries to persuade the millions of investors and savers across the country that, despite some unsettling developments, all is OK. “Don’t worry, we’re on to it, we’re talking to the board behind closed doors,” say the institutions, without any sense of how disturbing that sounds to the rest of us. It certainly doesn’t do much to address the suspicion that institutional investors are a little too close to large listed companies for the good of the ordinary saver. Those same large listed companies just happen to be a valuable source of the funds for management by those institutional investors. With any luck 2016’s developments have marked a new trend in shareholder activism, and we can look forward to much more of it in the...

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