This article examines the role that pension funds play in contests for corporate control. Against the background of the traditional, passive "Wall Street Rule," the author describes how the phenomenal growth of pension funds and the advent of hostile takeovers have led to more active involvement in corporate affairs for both private and public pension funds. He examines the conflicts of interest that many financial institutions face in making decisions that could affect business relationships with their corporate clients and suggests remedial measures to discourage improper conduct. He also discusses the growing activism of public pension funds, including the establishment of the Council of Institutional Investors. Public fund activism, he concludes, at least on corporate governance matters, serves the interests of both plan participants and the general public.
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