Tuesday, April 16, 2013

FRONTLINE WITH FACULTY SERIES: University Endowments and Universal Owners: The Sustainability Challenge

JAMES HAWLEY | Professor, School of Economics and Business Administration;
Director, The Elfenworks Center for the Study of Fiduciary Capitalism, Saint Mary’s College of California
Tuesday, April 16
12:00 – 1:00pm
Weil Town Hall, Belfer Building

This session puts the controversies of some university endowments into the larger context of existing and emerging U.S. and global corporate governance standards. These standards, while in flux and varying somewhat from country to country, include transparency, accountability and accounting not only for financial performance, but also for the not as yet fully financial factors. These factors are often referred to as ESG (environmental, social and governance), and increasingly a focus on financial and economic sustainability. The idea of the universal owner as a large institution with a diversified portfolio which owns a cross section of assets classes that are more or less representative of the economy, and thereby internalized some proportion of externalities generated by the assets it owns, making it a reasonably proxy for the ‘public interest’.

James Hawley is Director of the Eflenworks Center for Fiduciary Capitalism and has held the rotating endowed Transamerica Chair of Business Strategy and Policy twice at Saint Mary’s College. He is co-author of The Rise of Fiduciary Capitalism: How Institutional Investors can make Corporations more Democratic (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000); co-editor of Corporate Governance Failures: The role of institutional investors in the global financial crisis (University of Pennsylvania press, 2011); and is co-editing two handbooks on responsible investment and on fiduciary duty. He is the author (or co-author) of over 30 scholarly articles on a variety of topics, including corporate governance, responsible investment, the international monetary and financial system, and environmental issues. He is frequently quoted in the media on corporate governance issues. Prior to Saint Mary’s, he worked at Wells Fargo Bank as a country risk analyst and previously taught at the University of California, Davis. He served as a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Institute for Responsible Investing, and has been co-chair of the Principles of Responsible Investment Academic Network. He was a member of the UN Environmental Programme-Financial Initiative’s Expert Panel on Responsible Investment. He received his BA from the University of Wisconsin, MA, from the University of California, Berkeley, and Ph.D. from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. For further information, click here.

The video of this session is now available for viewing. Please click here to access the recording.

The Frontline with Faculty Seriesis a venue for Harvard faculty affiliated with the Hauser Center to share their work and research with faculty colleagues, as well as students in an informal setting that will allow for spirited discussion, debate and exchange.