Zekun (Eric) Chang
Thesis title: Hedge fund activism in corporate governance
LLB, Southwest University of Political Science and Law, 2018
LLM Corporation Law, University of Edinburgh, 2020
Ordinary Tutor, Commercial Law 2022
Ordinary Tutor, Business Entities 2023
Online Assistant Tutor, LLM Corporation Law 2023
My thesis aims to expand our current understanding of hedge fund activism (HFA) by examining their contributions to the corporate board’s function. It also explores potential legislative changes that can harness hedge fund activism.
HFA refers to the shareholder activism activities conducted by some hedge funds. These activities usually aim to change the business and structure of the company. HFA has been a highly debatable phenomenon in US corporate governance. Some perceive positively this phenomenon as it can be a monitoring on corporate managers. Many financial studies find that HFA is related to shareholder value improvement. Critics of HFA argue that it damages corporate long-term value.
My thesis takes issue with these views by pointing out that they omit the fact that hedge funds take on the function of the board of directors. It then makes an attempt to evaluate HFA within the framework of the director’s functions, i.e., monitoring and strategic management. It argues that HFA contributes to these functions. The downside of HFA is the generation of negative externality in their reforms. That said, a sound legislative response should be able to preserve the positive inputs of HFA while keeping the negativities at bay, instead of holistically banning or promoting HFA.
Current research interestsShareholder activism, institutional shareholders.
Corporate governance and the effectiveness of the board, summer school 2023, University of Groningen, The Netherlands, July 2023
9th Edinburgh Postgraduate Law Conference, May 2023.
Bocconi-Oxford Corporate Governance Workshop, 2021
Co-convenor, Edinburgh Law School Commercial Law Reading Group, since 2022.