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Conferences


2008 Financial Markets Conference Agenda: Financial Market Reforms: Taking Stock

Monday, May 12
1:15 p.m. Welcome and opening remarks
David E. Altig, Senior Vice President and Director of Research, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
1:30

Paper I: "Institutional Investors and Proxy Voting: The Impact of the 2003 Mutual Fund Voting Disclosure Regulation" pdf document

Chair
Paula A. Tkac, Financial Economist and Associate Policy Adviser, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Presenter
Roberta Romano, Oscar M. Ruebhausen Professor of Law, Yale Law School, and Director, Yale Law School Center for the Study of Corporate Law, New Haven, Connecticut

Discussant
Timothy M. Weithers, Executive Director, Chicago Trading Company, and Associate Director, Graduate Program on Financial Mathematics, University of Chicago
Presentation pdf document

3:30

Paper II: "Returns to Shareholder Activism: Evidence from a Clinical Study of the Hermes U.K. Focus Fund" pdf document

Chair
Larry D. Wall, Financial Economist and Policy Adviser, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Presenter
Jeremy Grant, Executive Director, Centre for Corporate Governance, London Business School (presenting for Julian Franks, London Business School)
Presentation pdf document

Discussant
Chester Spatt, Mellon Bank Professor of Finance, and Director, Center for Financial Markets, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh
Presentation pdf document

7:15

Welcome and opening remarks
Dennis P. Lockhart, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Tuesday, May 13
8:10 a.m.

Convene conference and introduce keynote speaker
Dennis P. Lockhart, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

8:20

Keynote speaker
"Liquidity Provision by the Federal Reserve" off-site image
Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (via satellite)

9:15

Session I: "SOX at Five Years: A Good Long-Term Investment?" pdf document
Passed in 2002 in response to corporate accounting scandals in the late 1990s, the Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX) was put forth as a reform to strengthen corporate governance. Specifically, SOX implemented rules and processes affecting both the internal functioning of the corporation and its board of directors. At the time, critics argued that the law would impose large costs on corporations without effectively deterring future abuses. This session investigates the lessons we have learned after four years’ experience operating under SOX.

  • What are the true costs to corporations of SOX compliance, both explictly and in opportunity costs of time and effort?
  • Has SOX driven corporations out of the public U.S. equity market either to list in other capital markets or to become (or stay) privately owned? If so, is this development bad, and for whom?
  • Have corporations made substantive changes in response to SOX, or are they merely doing more "box checking"?

Moderator
Kevin M. Warsh, Member, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington, D.C.

Presenter
Kenneth M. Lehn, Samuel A. McCullough Professor of Finance, Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh
Presentation pdf document

Discussants
Michael G. Oxley, Of Counsel, Baker Hostetler LLP, Washington, D.C.; Vice Chairman, the Nasdaq Stock Market Inc.; and former U.S. Congressman from Ohio and Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee
Marc P. Zenner, Managing Director, Capital Structure and Advisory Solutions, JPMorgan Chase, New York City
Presentation pdf document

11:00

Session II: "Fair Disclosure: Leveling the Playing Field?" pdf document
Instituted in 2000, Regulation FD seeks to level the informational playing field among institutional investors, analysts, and individual investors by requiring corporations to release information in ways such that all parties have access to the same information at the same time. A similar motivation was behind the 2003 settlement between investment banks and the New York Attorney General to fund independent research.

  • Have these reforms materially reduced information asymmetries?
  • Has the amount and quality of information available to market participants increased or decreased?
  • How will technological advances in information dissemination, including the Internet in general and blogging in particular, shape the form of disclosure regulation?
  • What lessons can we learn from these experiences regarding the ability of regulation, versus market forces, to enhance information disclosure, transparency, and market efficiency?
Moderator
Charles I. Plosser, President, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Presenter
Paul M. Healy, James R. Williston Professor of Business Administration, and Head, Accounting and Management, Harvard Business School, Boston
Presentation pdf document

Discussants
Michael W. Mayhew, Chairman, Founder, and Global Director of Research, Integrity Research Associates LLC, New York City
Presentation pdf document
Louis M. Thompson Jr., Managing Director, Kalorama Partners LLC, Washington, D.C.
Presentation pdf document

7:15 p.m.

Introduction of keynote speaker
Dennis P. Lockhart, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Keynote speaker

Lord John Eatwell, President, Queens' College, Cambridge; Director, Cambridge Endowment for Research in Finance; Professor of Financial Policy, University of Cambridge

Wednesday, May 14
8:30 a.m.

Session III: "Investor Activism: Reshaping the Playing Field?" pdf document
Recent years have seen an increase in activism by both institutional and private investors, including hedge funds, private equity (both buyouts and large individual investors), and mutual funds. This activism ranges from shareholder proposals and vote-no campaigns on corporate directors to full-blown proxy contests. In addition, activist investors are increasingly seeking to affect not just governance but corporate operations. In July 2007 the Securities and Exchange Commission issued two conflicting rule proposals regarding proxy access and voted in November to deny shareholder access. Nonetheless, this potentially valuable tool in the activists' arsenal will likely be revisited by the SEC in 2008.

  • What are the arguments for and against such "democratization" of the proxy?
  • How will activists use such power, if granted, to affect both corporations’ governance structure and strategic operations?
  • To what extent do activists have differing objectives for the firm (for example, social responsibility versus profit maximization), and how will these differing objectives affect corporate performance, economic efficiency, and real economic growth?
Moderator
Thomas C. Melzer, Cofounder and Managing Director, RiverVest Venture Partners,
St. Louis, Missouri

Presenter
Stephen M. Bainbridge, William D. Warren Professor of Law, University of California, Los Angeles
Presentation pdf document

Discussants
Phillip Goldstein, Cofounder and Principal, Bulldog Investors, Pleasantville, New York
Michael J. Ryan Jr., Senior Vice President and Executive Director, U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, and Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C.
10:30

Session IV: "The Market That Never Sleeps: How Do We Get There?"
In recent years, stock and derivatives exchanges in various countries have consolidated across international borders. Investors have taken advantage of the ability to trade on exchanges in different countries by increasing the international diversification of their portfolios. While grabbing few headlines compared to cross-border exchange mergers, the settlement of transactions between counterparties in different countries has become an important issue. This session reviews these developments, the regulatory changes that have affected them, and their implications for the future of global capital markets.

  • In the not too distant future, will be there one global exchange open 24/7?
  • Will local exchanges continue to be viable?
Moderator
Erik R. Sirri, Director, Division of Trading and Markets, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Washington, D.C.

Presenter
Albert S. "Pete" Kyle, Charles E. Smith Chair Professor of Finance, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park
Presentation" pdf document

Discussants
Robert Barnes, Managing Director, Equities, UBS Investment Bank, London
Richard R. Lindsey, President and Chief Executive Officer, Callcott Group LLC, New York City
Presentation pdf document

Noon

Conference closing
Dennis P. Lockhart, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta