Will shareholder meetings get ugly?

The Morgan Stanley building in New York City.

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Scott Jagow: A lot of bank shareholders probably feel like they've been robbed.
The question is: Will they hold management accountable for such poor investing in the mortgage market. We may start finding out today. Morgan Stanley kicks off the season of bank stockholder meetings. Jeremy Hobson has more.


Jeremy Hobson: Last year, shareholders were upset about excessive executive compensation. This year, they're poorer and they're really angry about it. Charles Elson teaches corporate governance at the University of Delaware.

Charles Elson: Ultimately, when the company doesn't perform, you know, the buck stops somewhere. And it stops with those who are running the organization -- management and the board of directors.

Elson says shareholders have a few different weapons at their disposal. They can yell and scream, which he's sure they will. They can withhold their vote for the incumbent board. Or they can run a proxy fight...

Elson: ...where they nominate their own directors and attempt to unseat the incumbent directors through a vigorous proxy contest.

Carol Bowie who tracks shareholder resolutions at RiskMetrics expects a lot of that.

Carol Bowie: It probably is going to be a pretty lively season.

She says the unease among shareholders may also signal that investors are worried the market hasn't hit bottom yet.

I'm Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.

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