Many days, the newspapers’ front pages blast eye-grabbing headlines in heavy, bold print but carry little heft in content. Many of the stories that truly affect investors are buried further in the papers, if they make it in there at all. Today’s Wall Street Journal carries several items of interest for investors:
Investors should never forget Martin Whitman’s assertion that shareholders are favored only above the IRS when it comes to most corporate executive suites. While shareholders are theoretically owners of the company, the practical situation is that many (most?) corporate managers view us another item to be managed. Proxy access is one of the tools which will allow the rightful owners of the company to exercise more than just token control. It is funny how one person argued against proxy access, saying that he didn’t want “the government telling businesses what to do.” It shows the degree to which people are programmed to think and discourse completely in talking points, even in wholly inappropriate situations like proxy access. This person must not want owners telling their businesses what to do.
Too many investors ignore capital leakage via commission and other costs. Anton Troianovski brings up a subtle cost when dealing with smaller ETFs: bid/ask spreads. While not an official cost, wide spreads drive up costs for investors. Much of the literature surrounding ETFs and indices focuses on expense ratios disclosed by the funds so it is easy to lose sight of the hidden costs of bid/ask spreads.
And finally a few more articles that will probably be the subject of future blog posts but I present them here for your perusal: