The following is a guest post from “The Wall Street Psychologist” and co-founder of TheShareholderActivist.comTM, Christopher Bayer, Ph.D.
Revolution/Evolution is an Historically Valid and Natural Psycho-biological Reaction to Perceived Oppression and Inequity
Last week I was invited to appear on the Fox Business News show “After the Bell” hosted by Liz Claman and David Asman. Right out of the gate, Ms. Claman proclaimed that I had declared that a “Shareholder Revolution” was coming! Shareholders were taking it to the streets.
Now is the time for shareholders to educate themselves. Wall Street is listening to Main Street; the doors are opening. Let’s do something immediately while we have a good chance of success: “strike while the iron is hot.” Education and empowerment are critically important for shareholders. We have a voice.
Watch The Growing Activism of Shareholders on Fox Business.
Hundreds of Wells Fargo shareholders and demonstrators tried to crash the annual shareholders meeting in San Francisco last week. They chanted “We are the 99 percent, let us in.” Angry, pained faces of protestors in quality suits waving their stock certificates colored abundant news footage. These people are not vagabonds. They are Main Street investors and Wells Fargo corporate owners.
Protestor gripes focused on Wells Fargo’s moratorium on home foreclosures, private prison investments, and severe lending practices. What happened in San Francisco came off the heels of Citibank’s shareholders vote of no confidence to the bank’s CEO’s executive compensation plan. Citi’s earnings have suffered, and its share value is 5 to 10% of what it had been at its peak over the past 15 years.
Shareholders are expected to express themselves at the upcoming Janus Capital Group and US Steel meets. Momentum is increasing. Shareholders are a force; how could they not be? James McRitche (www.corpgov.net) recently noted in a guest blog on TheShareholderActivist.com that 15 years ago when he quick searched for “corporate governance” on Alta Vista (pre-google), he was able to read all material in several minutes. Today a search for “corporate governance” brings up over 34 million results! Now that’s what we call exponential growth.
Revolution/evolution does not occur in a vacuum. Economic, political, and social movements are rooted in human nature, and develop out of societal conditions and how people perceive their life-state in terms of satisfaction-dissatisfaction. There is not a lot of mystery here. Shareholders crave equity and value.
Shareholders co-own companies with management and employees. We are all partners. We have a voice, and we are entitled to be heard. TheShareholderActivist.com provides a responsible evolutionary platform with a myriad of sophisticated nuts & bolts tools, eBooks, and expert guidance for submitting shareholder proposals and creating shareholder campaigns. Our credo is: “Don’t just dispute, contribute!” We also provide a rich variety of other content related to business, the history and psychology of money, and novel experiences as they apply to money matters and corporate behavior.
Emotionally, shareholders want respect, value, and a platform for their voice. Expression is the conduit for empowerment. TheShareholderActivist.com is a leading source for investor empowerment and education. Our mission is to provide a platform for the investor’s voice, and to hold the companies we co-own to their stated mission to ensure sustainability.
CEO Compensation and Other Considerations
CEO’s in America are compensated at 20 to 30 times the rate of their counterparts in the Euro-Zone, depending on the country. Shareholders expect value and production. Currently, we don’t have clear cut standardized metrics to assess CEO performance. Companies appear to be willing to protect their brand and maintain their image by paying their executives very, very well. Psychologically it goes something like this: “If we pay our CEO’s well they must be very, very good. Performance metrics are for Hall of Fame candidates. We must protect our brand!”
Typically, American CEOS earn 475 times the average company worker. Bill King provides an excellent review for Grant Thornton LLP entitled “United States Executive Compensation Outlook for 2012,” March 21, 2012. Today, corporations, especially Wall Street firms, are concerned with executive compensation, and CEO performance and value.
Writing for CBS Newswatch, Alain Sherter asserts that Goldman Sachs should fire Lloyd Blankfein for the following reasons: he may have deceived Congress, the company has been plagued by controversy , does he truly understand Goldman’s business?, investors are not happy with him, and his trading background is now a PR liability. Bottom-line (as they say in the inner sanctum of the board room): no one is “safe,” not even Blankfein.
“The Book:” The Wall Street Psychologist’s Gyroscope: Survival Tactics for Financial Professionals in a Money-Mad World
Since the 1980s I have practiced as a psychologist and psychoanalyst in New York specializing in the treatment of financial services personnel and their families. I have witnessed the dramatic evolution, and cyclical implosion of our financial sector. I have seen what few see: the emotional and physical consequences of our culture’s fascination with the pursuit of money and success at all costs.
I am completing a comprehensive book entitled “The Wall Street Psychologist’s Gyroscope: Survival Tactics for Financial Professionals in a Money-Mad World.” My work examines the inner life of Wall Street personnel, as well as a novel investigation of the history and psychology of money.
“After the Bell” co-hosts Liz Claman and David Asman were smart, charming, and insightful. The Studio was vibrant. David Asman paid me an ultimate parting compliment: “Christopher Bayer, I have a feeling we are going to be hearing more from you.”
To contact Christopher Bayer directly, please email [email protected].