Patrick Bolton and Frédéric Samama
We argue that a fundamental reason for the short term perspective of corporate executives is the short-term orientation of shareholders and financial markets that drive the performance benchmarks of CEOs. In our view, long-term committed shareholders can provide substantial benefits to the company they invest in and although some shareholders are prepared to take a more long-term view, they are generally not rewarded for their loyalty to the company. We believe that because they are a scarce resource and provide benefits to the company and other shareholders that have all the features of a public good, long-term shareholders need to receive financial incentives. While lengthening stock option vesting periods and introducing claw-back provisions into CEO compensation contracts help induce a more long-term orientation of CEOs, we argue that it is also necessary to reinforce this more long-term performance-based compensation with a better alignment between shareholders and CEOs horizons. Our proposal for moving towards such an alignment is to introduce Loyalty-Shares (or L-shares). These shares provide an additional reward (usually under the form of an extra-share or extra-dividend) to shareholders if they have held on to their shares for a contractually specified period of time, the loyalty period. The reward we propose, which we believe would be a more optimal solution in many cases, is in the form of a warrant giving the right to purchase a pre-determined number of new shares at a pre-specified price and granted to loyal investors at the expiration of the loyalty period. This paper discusses how L-shares under the form of loyalty warrants can be structured and distributed, how they may be valued and how they may affect liquidity and control of the corporation.
View the working paper here: L-Shares: Rewarding Long-Term Investors.