Shareholder Primacy and the Trajectory of UK Corporate Governance

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Abstract

Core institutions of UK corporate governance, in particular those relating to takeovers, board structure and directors’ duties, are strongly orientated towards a norm of shareholder primacy. Beyond the core, in particular at the inter-section of insolvency and employment law, stakeholder interests are better represented, thanks largely to European Community influence. Moreover, institutional shareholders are redirecting their investment strategies away from a focus on short-term returns, in such a way as to favour stakeholder-inclusive practices. We therefore suggest that the UK system is currently in a state of flux and that the debate over shareholder primacy has not been concluded.

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