Year of publication
- English (28) (remove)
- 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: ...)
- The German banking system and its impacts on corporate finance and governance (1993)
- The task of this Paper as originally described in the outline of the current project was to compare the German banking System, as one type of relationship banking , with the Japanese main bank System. This was, of course, not simply meant in the sense of a mere description and comparison of different institutions. A meaningful contribution rather has to look at the functions of a given banking System as a provider of capital or other financial Services to their client firms, has to ask in what respect the one or the other System might be superior or less efficient, and has to analyze the reasons for this. Such a thorough analysis would have to answer questions like, for instance, to what extent investment is financed by (lang or short term-)bank loans, whether German banks have, because of specific institutional arrangements like own equity holdings, seats on Company boards or other links with their borrowers, informational or other advantages that make bank finance eheaper or easier available; how such banks behave with respect to financial distress and bankruptcy of their client firms, and what their exact role in corporate governance is. While preparing this Paper I found that in Order to give reliable answers to these questions there had to be several other conferences comparable to the present one that had to focus exclusively on our domestic System. Hence what this Paper only tan provide for at this moment is a short overview of the German banking System and its special t r a i t s ( Universalbankensystem and Group Banking ; part I), describe and analyse some aspects of bank lending to firms (Part II), and the role of German banks as delegated monitors in widely held firms (Part Ill). A description of the historical development of the specific links between banks and industry and their impact on the economic growth of Germany during the period of the industrialization and later on would be specifically interesting within the framework of a Conference that discusses the lessons and relevante of banking Systems for developing market economies and for transforming socialist economies. However, historical remarks had to be omitted completely, not least because of lack of own knowledge, time and space, but also because this history is already well documented and available in English publications, too.
- Company Law Reform in Germany (2002)
- The paper was submitted to the conference on company law reform at the University of Cambridge, July 4th, 2002. Since the introduction of corporation laws in the individual German states during the first half of the 19th Century, Germany has repeatedly amended and reformed its company law. Such reforms and amendments were prompted in part by stock exchange fraud and the collapse of large corporations, but also by a routine adjustment of law to changing commercial and societal conditions. During the last ten years, a series of significant changes to German company law led one commentator to speak from a "company law in permanent reform." Two years ago, the German Federal Chancellor established a Regierungskommission Corporate Governance ("Government Commission on Corporate Governance") and instructed it to examine the German Corporate Governance system and German company law as a whole, and formulate recommendations for reform.
- Takeovers vs. institutions in corporate governance in Germany (1992)
- The corporate governance Systems in the U.K. and in Germany differ markedly. German large firms have a two-board structure, they are subject to employee codetermination, their managements are not confronted with public hostile takeover bids, and banks play a major role in corporate governance, through equity stakes, through proxies given to them by small investors, and through bankers positions on the supervisory boards of these firms. One of the main issues of corporate governance in large firms, the Problem of shareholders passivity in monitoring management in Berle-Means type corporations, is thus addressed by an institutional Provision, the role of the banks, rather than by a market-oriented Solution as we find it in the U.K. with its market for corporate control through the threat of hostile takeovers. These two different approaches to corporate governance have been compared several times recently, and it was argued that a bank-based or institutional Solution has clear advantages and should be preferred. Cosh, Hughes and Singh, for example, argue at the conclusion of their discussion of takeovers and short-termism in the U.K. that the institutional shareholder [in the UK] should take a much more active and vigorous part in the internal governance of corporations. . . . In Order for such a proposal to be effective both in disciplining inefficient managements and promoting long-term investments, far reaching changes in the internal workings and behaviour of the financial institutions would be required. The financial institutions would need to pool their resources together, set up specialised departments for promoting investment and innovations - in other words behave like German banks. The following remarks seek to continue this discussion from the German perspective. The article will first attempt to evaluate the monitoring potential of our domestic bank or institution-oriented corporate governance System and then, in a further patt, compare it with that of a market-oriented Solution. lt will be argued that both Systems focus on different Problems and have specific advantages and drawbacks, and that there are still quite a few puzzles to be solved until all pros and cons of each of these monitoring devices tan be assessed. The perception that both Systems focus on different Problems suggests combining institutional monitoring with a market for corporate control rather than considering them to be contrasting and incompatible approaches. The article is organized as follows. Section II will describe the legal structure of the large corporation in Germany in more detail. Section Ill explains why a market for corporate control by the threat of public hostile takeover bids does not exist in Germany. Section IV then Shows how corporate governance in publicly held corporations with small investors is organized instead, and deals with the role of banks in corporate governance in these firms. Section V of the atticle then will try to compare the monitoring potential of a marketoriented and our bank or institution-oriented corporate governance System. Concluding remarks follow.