Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version

2018

Advisor

Sarah Light

Abstract

ESG investing is a recent trend that has been gaining major traction in the investment community. Within that community, activist hedge funds have been powerful agents in shaping the corporate landscape and in creating value at the companies they target. Research has been conducted on both hedge fund activism and ESG investing, but fails to examine the intersection between the two investment strategies. To fill that gap, this paper aims to examine whether the increased popularity of ESG investing is affecting how activist investors pursue value creation at the companies they target. The findings show that the most common ESG considerations in activist campaigns relate to “Governance”. Further analysis of gender diversity as an ESG consideration suggests that activist hedge funds may be more likely to nominate female directors when target companies already have at least one female director. The paper ends with an analysis of why activist hedge funds are becoming more important for keeping companies accountable within the context of the rise of passive investing and how that can relate to more of a heightened focus on ESG considerations.

Keywords

shareholder activism, hedge fund, ESG, sustainable investing, UN Principles for Responsible Investing, gender diversity

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Date Posted:23 September 2018

 

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