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28 April 2023

Global Investor Stewardship relaunch reflects pivotal shift in focus from shareholders to investors

The Global Shareholder Stewardship project was initiated by a group of leading researchers and practitioners in 2019 to define shareholder stewardship, shape public policy and create an agenda to guide scholarship.

A group of people smiling into the camera. A man in glasses and a blue suit and a woman in a red dress are both holding a book.

Led by Dr Dionysia Katelouzou, Reader in Corporate Law from the Dickson Poon School of Law and supported by Dr Dan Puchniak, Professor at the Yong Pung How School of Law, Singapore Management University, the group consists of more than 120 members from 27 jurisdictions across the world.

Borne as a reaction to the global financial crisis in 2008, policy-driven shareholder stewardship involves understanding the responsible ownership practices of investors qua shareholders. At its heart, shareholder stewardship encourages good engagement practices with individual investee companies and aims to create long-term corporate performance and sustainable value for beneficiaries. 

Since 2019 when the group started, significant global challenges have occurred. The Investor Stewardship in an Uncertain World Conference, in May 2022, provided a forum to address these challenges and to also examine the effectiveness of investor stewardship while navigating significant short-term shock and unprecedented climate and social upheaval.

In less than 10 years, stewardship has become an international phenomenon and as it evolves, institutional shareholders have taken an increasingly active role in the governance of their investee companies. At the same time, there are growing demands on asset managers and asset owners to focus on broader societal goals rather than simply concentrate on investment returns. Stewardship, in turn, is transitioning from a corporate-governance-focused, micro-level shareholder stewardship to a multi-level, multi-theme and multi-asset investor stewardship.

To reflect these changes in focus and direction of the discourse, ‘Global Shareholder Stewardship’ will now be known as ‘Global Investor Stewardship.

To launch their new name, the Global Investor Stewardship group have created two new, informative short videos which highlight their research and explain this shift in focus. 

Originally shareholder stewardship had its primary focus on the firm-specific level; it was about engagement by institutional shareholders with specific companies and often referred to as “micro-level” shareholder stewardship

Dr Dionysia Katelouzou

Their current and future research focuses on investor stewardship and environmental sustainability goals, the stewardship activities of institutional and non-institutional investors, stewardship reporting and stewardship outcomes at both micro-, portfolio- and macro-levels.

Their aims are:

  • to establish a core network of academic and non-academic specialists with emerging expertise on investor stewardship, shareholder engagement and responsible investment;  
  • share good stewardship practices and inform policymakers not only in jurisdictions which have already developed stewardship codes or related policies but also in jurisdictions currently planning to introduce stewardship codes or principles;  
  • drive forward evidence-based policy; and form the basis for the development of research outputs, intended to highlight innovative research on global investor stewardship. 

If you would like to join the group or have questions about their project or ongoing research, please email: Visit Global Investor Stewardship for more information. 

In this story

Dionysia Katelouzou

Reader in Corporate Law