Saturday, April 28, 2012

Investor vs. Labor Part II - Who are the investors?

This is part II of a series being done on the topic of Investor vs. Labor. Part 1 of the series introduced the topic and can be found here. This post will focus primarily on how labor is a large part of the investing community. You may have heard your company's CEO make a statement such as "We are trying to maximize shareholder value." That is one of the most popular statements made by CEO's today. But that begs the question "Who are your shareholders?". The answer might surprise you.

The largest shareholders of Fortune 500 companies outside of company executives tend to be retirement funds representing the country's labor force. If you are to look at the largest retirement funds that regularly invest their money, you will find most are workers pension funds or mutual funds that are packed with retirement dollars. If you research most Hedge Funds, you will find the bulk of their capital comes from workers retirement packages also. Union pension fund investments into the stock market are in the billions each year. If you go to MSN Money, you can type in a stock and see that clearly worker retirement funds are the major investor in the stock.  

Workers with blue collar salaries depend on the stock market for their retirement more than white collar executives because they have to. White collar salaried workers are able to take risk off the table and invest in safer instruments due to their higher salary. Blue collar workers do not have that luxury.

When a CEO makes that statement " We are trying to maximize shareholder value.", make sure it isn't preceded or followed by the statement "That is why we keep worker costs down.". If it is, he or she needs to find out who the company's shareholders actually are.


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I guess theirs always going to be some sort of conflict between management and labor.

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