Year of publication
- English (28) (remove)
- European company law beyond the 2003 action plan (2007)
- This paper will sketch out some of the developments in European company law as seen from the current moment, which might be referred to as post- 2003 Action Plan, and from my purely personal viewpoint. I will thus restrict myself to presenting the current and expected legislative projects of the EU, with particular focus on the plans and activities of the Commission, and for the moment bracket out both a number of important and interesting decisions of the European Court of Justice and the debates among European legal scholars.
- Universal banks and investment companies in Germany (1995)
- Universal banking means that banks are permitted to offer all of the various kinds of financial services. This includes classical banking activities like the credit and deposit business, as well as investment services, placement and brokerage of securities, and even insurance activities, trading in real estate and others. German universal banks also hold stock in nonfinancial firms and offer to vote their clients' shares in other firms. This paper deals with universal banks and their role in the investment business, more specifically, their links with investment companies and their various roles as shareholders and providers of financial services to such companies. Banks and investment companies have, as financial intermediaries, one trait in common: they both transform capital of investors (depositors and shareholders of investment funds, respectively) into funds (loans and equity or debt securities, respectively) that are channeled to other firms. So why should a regulation forbid to combine these transformation tasks in one institution or group, and why should the law not allow banks to establish investment companies and provide all kinds of financial services to them in addition to their banking services? German banking and investment company law have answered these questions in the affirmative. This paper argues that the existing regulation is not a sound and recommendable one. The paper is organized as follows: Sections II - V identify four areas where the combination of banking and investment might either harm the shareholders of the investment funds and/or negatively affect other constituencies such as the shareholders of the banking institution. These sections will at the same time explore whether there are institutional or regulatory provisions in place or market forces at work that adequately protect investors and the other constituencies in question. Concluding remarks follow (VI.).
- Corporate governance systems in Europe : differences and tendencies of convergence ; Crafoord lecture (1996)
- The corporate governance systems in Europe differ markedly. Economists tend to use stylized models and distinguish between the Anglo-American, the German and the Latinist model.1 In this view, for instance, the Austrian, Dutch, German, and Swiss systems are said to be variations of one model. For lawyers the picture is of course, much more detailed as particular rules may vary even where common principles prevail. Many comparative studies on these differences have been undertaken meanwhile.2 I do not want to add another study but to treat a different question. Are there as a consequence of growing internationalization, globalization of markets and technological change, also tendencies of convergence of our corporate governance systems? My answer will be in two parts. As corporate governance systems are traditionally mainly shaped by legislation, the first part will analyze the influence of the economic and technological change on the rule-setting process itself. How does this process react to the fundamental environmental change? That includes a short analysis of the solution of centralized harmonizing of company law within the EU as well as the question of whether EU-wide competition between national corporate law legislators can be observed or be expected in the future. The second part will then turn to the national level. It deals with actual tendencies of convergence or, more correctly, of approach by the German corporate governance system to the Anglo-American one.
- The new draft proposal for a directive on takeovers : the German perspective (1996)
- The previous proposal for a company law directive on takeovers in 1990 was rejected in Germany almost unanimously for several different reasons. The new "slimmed down" draft proposal, in the light of the subsidiarity principle, takes the different approaches to investorprotection in the various member states better into account. Notably, the most controversial principle of the previous draft, viz. the mandatory bid rule as the only means of investorprotection in case of a change of control, has been given up. Therefore a much higher degree of acceptance seems likely. The Bundesrat (upper house) and the industry associations have already expressed their consent; the Bundestag (Federal Parliament) will deal with the proposal shortly. The technique of a "frame directive" leaves ample leeway for the member states. That will shift the discussion back to the national level and there will lead to the question as to how to make use of this leeway (cf. II, III, below) rather than to a debate about principles as in the past. It seems likely that criticism will confine itself to more technical questions (cf. IV, below).
- Shareholder representation and proxy voting in the European Union: a comparitive study (1997)
- Paper, presented at the Conference on Comparative Corporate Governance Max-Planck-Institut für Ausländisches und Internationales Privatrecht Hamburg, May 15-17, 1997
- Corporate contracting around defective regulations : the Daimler-Chrysler case (1998)
- The article describes the legal structure of the Daimler-Chrysler merger. It asks why this specific structure rather than another cheaper way was chosen. This leads to the more general question of the pros and cons of mandatory corporate law as a regulatory device. The article advocates an "optional" approach: The legislator should offer various menus or sets of binding rules among which the parties may choose. (JEL: ...)