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Le rôle, le pouvoir et les responsabilités des investisseurs institutionnels

7 mai 2013

Voici le compte rendu d’une conférence donnée par Luis A. Aguilar, commissaire de la SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) qui décrit le rôle des investisseurs institutionnels et leur influence sur le contrôle des grandes sociétés publiques.

L’article est intéressant parce qu’il énonce deux problématiques cruciales eu regard à la règlementation visant les investisseurs institutionnels. (1) l’importance de la divulgation d’informations fiables aux investisseurs, (2) le besoin des investisseurs d’être entendus sur les considérations de gouvernance, notamment sur la rémunération de la haute direction.

L’article reflète la réalité américaine mais je crois que les avis de M. Aguilar sont aussi valables pour les grandes corporations canadiennes. Voici un extrait du compte rendu qui brosse un tableau éloquent des changements majeurs du rôle et de l’influence des investisseurs institutionnels survenus au cours des 60 dernières années : de 7 % de la capitalisation boursière en 1950 à 67 % en 2010 !

Institutional Investors: Power and Responsibility

Role Played by Institutional Investors

The topic of your conference recognizes the important role played by institutional investors and the great influence they exert in our capital markets. The role and influence of institutional investors has grown over time. For example, the proportion of U.S. public equities managed by institutions has risen steadily over the past six decades, from about 7 or 8% of market capitalization in 1950, to about 67 % in 2010. The shift has come as more American families participate in the capital markets through pooled-investment vehicles, such as mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs).

Institutional investor ownership is an even more significant factor in the largest corporations: In 2009, institutional investors owned in the aggregate 73% of the outstanding equity in the 1,000 largest U.S. corporations.

The New York Stock Exchange, the world's large...

The New York Stock Exchange, the world’s largest stock exchange by market capitalization (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The growth in the proportion of assets managed by institutional investors has been accompanied by a dramatic growth in the market capitalization of U.S. listed companies. For example, in 1950, the combined market value of all stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) was about $94 billion. By 2012, however, the domestic market capitalization of the NYSE was more than $14 trillion, an increase of nearly1,500%. This growth is even more impressive if you add the $4.5 trillion in market capitalization on the NASDAQ market, which did not exist until 1971. The bottom line is, that as a whole, institutional investors own a larger share of a larger market.Of course, institutional investors are not all the same. They come in many different forms and with many different characteristics. Among other things, institutional investors have different organizational and governance structures, and are subject to different regulatory requirements. The universe of institutional investors includes mutual funds and ETFs regulated by the SEC, as well as pension funds, insurance companies, and a wide variety of hedge funds and managed accounts, many of which are unregulated.

And, of course, institutional investors don’t all buy or sell the same asset classes at the same time. To the contrary, they have a wide variety of distinct goals, strategies, and timeframes for their investments. As a result, their interaction with, and impact on, the market occurs in many different ways.

The growth in assets managed by institutions has also affected, and been affected by, the significant changes in market structure and trading technologies over the past few decades, including the development of the national market system, the proliferation of trading venues – including both dark pools and electronic trading platforms – and the advent of algorithmic and high-speed trading. These changes – largely driven by the trading of institutional investors – have resulted in huge increases in trading volumes. For example, in 1990, the average daily volume on the NYSE was 162 million shares. Today, just 23 years later, that average daily volume is approximately 2.6 billion shares – an increase of about 1,600%.

Simply stated, institutional investors are dominant market players, but it is difficult to fit them into any particular category. This poses a challenge for regulators, who must take into account all the many different ways institutional investors operate, and interact, with the capital markets.

It is clear, however, that professionally-managed institutions can help ensure that our capital markets function as engines for economic growth. Institutional investors are known to improve price discovery, increase allocative efficiency, and promote management accountability. They aggregate the capital that businesses need to grow, and provide trading markets with liquidity – the lifeblood of our capital markets.

In doing all this, institutional investors – like all investors – depend on the assurance of a level playing field, access to complete and reliable information, and the ability to exercise their rights as shareowners. That is why fair and intelligent regulation is necessary for the proper functioning of our capital markets.

Institutional Investors: Power and Responsibility (blogs.law.harvard.edu)

Trade Effectively by Just Doing What Institutional Investors are Doing (safehaven.com)

Three Reasons Why Institutions Are Buying Stocks and Why Investors Need to Be Extremely Cautious (business2community.com)

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