Year of publication
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- Asset securitization in Europe (1994)
- Until the late 1980s, asset securitisation was an US-American finance technique. Meanwhile this technique has been used also in some European countries, although to a much lesser extent. While some of them have adopted or developed their legal and regulatory framework, others remain on earlier stages. That may be because of the lack of economic incentives, but also because of remaining regulatory or legal impediments. The following overview deals with the legal and regulatory environment in five selected European countries. It is structured as follows: First, this finance technique will be described in outline to the benefit of the reader who might not be familiar with it. A further part will report the recent development and the underlying economic reasons that drive this development. The main part will then deal with international aspects and give an overview of some legal and regulatory issues in five European legislations. Tax and accounting questions are, however, excluded. Concluding remarks follow.
- Corporate governance in Germany : system and recent developments (1993)
- The following descriptive overview of the German corporate governance system and the current debate is structured as follows. Part II will give some information on the empirical background. Part III will describe the formal legal setting as well as actual practices in some key areas. Part IV will then deal with some issues of the current debate.
- 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).
- Co-determination in Germany : the impact on the market value of the firm (1996)
- Paper presented at the conference on "Employees and Corporate Governance", Columbia University Law School, New York, November 22, 1996
- 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: ...)
- Shareholder voting in Germany (1999)
- Shareholder voting is back on the agenda of public debate for several reasons. One is the investors’ internationalization of capital investments and the raising of funds globally by companies. It can be predicted that considering the growing together of capital markets the trend to international investments will increase not least because the introduction of the Euro will create a uniform European stock market. This leads to the question how the law deals with this development and its problems. The EU Commission has commissioned a comparative study dealing, inter alia, with shareholders’ representation at general meetings in the EU member states.1 The aim is to simplify the operating regulations for public limited companies in the EU. Furthermore, the internationalization of shareholdings leads the investors to ask how their interests are protected abroad. Are the mechanisms of shareholder protection sufficient for foreign investors? In particular the formation of transnational companies like Daimler-Chrysler will change corporate governance systems. It remains to be seen whether and how foreign institutional investors will use measures of - in this case - German corporate law to control the management. From a microeconomic point of view the question is what specific features of a given corporate governance system might contribute to better performance of firms. The following remarks will however, be confined to one specific aspect of corporate governance only, the exercise of shareholders’ voting rights at the general meeting.