Thirty-eight percent of corporate executives and 68% of shareholder activists expect an increase in pension fund shareholder activism over the next 12 months, through the third quarter 2011, according to a survey by the law firm of Schulte Roth & Zabel and research firm mergermarket.com.
More broadly, some 64% of corporate executives and 60% of shareholder activists expect an increase in overall shareholder activism in the same period, said a report on the survey.
Some 32% of corporate respondents and 40% of shareholder activists expect shareholder activity overall will remain the same as the previous 12 months, while 4% of corporate respondents expect it will decrease.
Aside from pension funds, 56% of executives and 88% of activists expect hedge funds to increase activism; 4% of executives and 40% of activists expect sovereign wealth fund activism to rise; 46% of executives and 35% of activists expect union funds to increase activism; and 13% of executives and 29% of activists expect mutual funds to increase activism.
Financial services companies were selected by both groups as the market sector to be most targeted by activism.
Among the catalysts most likely to cause an increase in activism, 54% of corporate executives cited financial performance and 68% of shareholder activists cited excessive cash on balance sheets.
Schulte Roth & Zabel is a law firm involved in corporate and investor activity; mergermarket.com provides research on mergers and acquisitions.