Simon Wong

Email: simon.wong@law.northwestern.edu

Simon C.Y. Wong is a Visiting Fellow at the LSE. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Northwestern University School of Law and an independent adviser serving the OECD, regulatory bodies, and other institutions on corporate governance, institutional investment, policy/regulatory reform, and other matters.

Previously, Simon was a partner at activist investment firm Governance for Owners, Head of Corporate Governance at Barclays Global Investors, and a management consultant at McKinsey & Company. Simon started his professional career as a securities lawyer with Linklaters & Paines and Shearman & Sterling in London, and also served as Principal Administrator/Counsel at the OECD in Paris.
 

Twitter: @SimonCYWong
 

Research Interests

My research interests encompass different dimensions of corporate governance, capital markets, and policy/regulatory reforms in developed and emerging markets. Current areas of exploration include:

  • Agency issues within the capital markets and impact on incentives, behavior, and accountability

  • Effectiveness of institutional shareholders as monitors/stewards

  • Optimal balance of incentives and liability for corporate managers and financial market intermediaries

  • Impact of relative performance measures on corporate performance and financial system stability

  • Effective approaches to improve corporate governance standards and practices in emerging markets

As a practitioner with an academic bent, I am interested in helping to strengthen the bridge between academic thinking and real-world practice in the areas of corporate governance and capital market regulation, with a view to improving corporate and capital market practices, policymaking, and academic research and teaching.

 
External Activities
  • Build Africa – member of Board of Trustees (2010 - present)

  • OECD – member of Latin American Task Force on Related Party Transactions (2012 – present)

  • Aspen Institute – member of Strategic Advisory Council for Prize Competition Design (2012 – present)

  • National Association of Pension Funds (UK) – member of Shareholders Affairs Committee (2010 – present)

  • Global Corporate Governance Forum of the World Bank Group – member of Private Sector Advisory Group (2008 – present)

  • Eumedion (Netherlands) – member of Investment Committee (2007 – 2013)

  • International Corporate Governance Network – Chairman of Shareholder Responsibilities Committee (2008 – 2010)

  •  Association of British Insurers – member of Investment Committee (2007 – 2009)

  • House of Commons testimony on The Kay Review of UK Equity Markets and Long-Term Decision Making, February 2013
    (available online here)


Teaching
  • Corporate Governance LL435 (guest teacher)

  • Northwestern University, School of Law: International Corporate Governance (2007 – present)

  • University of Cambridge, Programme for Sustainability Leadership: Economics of Climate Change (2010)

  • Keio University, Graduate School of Economics: Lecture Series on European and Asian Economics (2011)(guest lecturer)

Selected articles / chapters in books

'The Problem of Underweight Shareholders', The New York Times, 5 August, 2014

'Tesco board must take blame for errors which forced CEO out', The Conversation, 22 July 2014

'People Have Evolved Past Homo Economicus,' Financial Times, 7 July 2014

'Governance hazards abound' (embedded within "Aim’s Red Army on the run" article on Chinese companies), Investors Chronicle, 30 May 2014

'Do you agree with giving long-term shareholders extra voting influence?' Capital Aberto, January 2014

'Why managers hug benchmark,' Financial Times, 12 October 2013

'How CEOs Can Fix Capitalism,' Harvard Business Review Press, July 2013
[contributed three articles: 1) Seven Ways CEOs and Investors Can Promote the Long Term; 2) A Remedy for Soaring Executive Pay: Focus Less on It; and 3) Aligning CEO Incentives with a Company's Long-Term Agenda]

‘It's OK to Give Shareholders Access to Outside Directors,’ Harvard Business Review Online, July 2013

'Rethinking One Share, One Vote,' Harvard Business Review Online, January 2013 (reprinted in Financial News, February 2013)

'The missing reform in the Kay Review,' Reuters, 26 July 2012

'Essential steps to close the stewardship deficit' (with Peter Butler), Financial Times, 4 June 2012

‘Google’s Stock-Split Plan Would Replace Stewardship with Dictatorship,’ Harvard Business Review Online, April 2012

 

‘Dim the Spotlight,’ The Conference Board Review, April 2012

 

‘A Remedy for Soaring Executive Pay: Focus Less on It,’ Harvard Business Review Online, March 2012

 

'Elevating board performance: The significance of director mindset, operating context, and other behavioral and functional considerations,' World Financial Review, January-February 2012

 

'Mismatch in the Boardroom,' The Conference Board Review, Winter 2012

 

'Barriers to Effective Investor Engagement,' Financial Times, 15 January 2012


'Are Kodak's Outside Directors Wrong to Desert a Sinking Ship?,' Harvard Business Review Online, January 2012

 

'Olympus turmoil shows independent oversight is critical at Japanese firms,' Harvard Business Review Online, October 2011

'The all powerful CEO bad for boardroom,' Financial Times, 14 November 2011

'Aligning CEO Incentives with a Company's Long-Term Agenda,' Harvard Business Review Online, October 2011

'Seven Ways CEOs and Investors Can Promote the Long Term,' Harvard Business Review Online, September 2011

'How conflicts of interest thwart institutional investor stewardship,' Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, September 2011


'Elevating board performance at financial and corporate institutions,' Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, July/August 2011

 

'Boards: When best practice isn’t enough,' McKinsey Quarterly, June 2011

 

'Recent trends in institutional investor responsibilities and stewardship' (with Peter Butler), Pensions: An International Journal, May 2011

 

'Promising steps on bank pay reforms,' Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, April 2011


'Some banks' pay reform may show the way,' Financial Times, 14 March 2011


'Who's Really in Charge? Why non-executive chairmen keep running into trouble,' The Conference Board Review, Fall 2010


'How institutional investors should step up as owners,' McKinsey Quarterly, September 2010 (reprinted in McKinsey on Finance, Autumn 2010)

'Takeover rules debate misses the point,' Financial Times, 23 August 2010

'The UK Stewardship Code: A missed opportunity for higher standards,' Responsible Investor, 13 July 2010


'Why stewardship is proving elusive for institutional investors,' Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, July/August 2010

'Index-based investing mars stewardship,' Financial Times, 14 June 2010

'Failings of US disclosure-based regulation,' Financial Times, 1 March 2010


A call to reform US disclosure-based regulation,' Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, February 2010


'Investor reforms must tackle root causes,' Financial Times, 14 December 2009

'Effective board engagement with shareholders,' Brunswick Review, Issue Two, Winter 2009


'Uses and limits of conventional corporate governance instruments: Analysis and guidance for reform (Integrated version),' Global Corporate Governance Forum Private Sector Opinion, Issues 14-15, June/August 2009


'Government ownership: Why this time it should work,' McKinsey Quarterly, June 2009


'Crisis in Japan,' Governance, June 2009


'Developing and implementing corporate governance codes,' Global Corporate Governance Forum Private Sector Opinion, Issue 10, December 2008


'Activism and mainstream institutional investors,' International Corporate Governance Network 2008 Yearbook


'Improving board performance in emerging markets' (with Dominic Barton), McKinsey Quarterly, 2006, Q1


'Policymakers struggle to balance laws and codes,' International Financial Law Review, Fall 2005


'How to separate the roles of chairman and CEO' (with Robert Felton), McKinsey Quarterly, 2004, Q4


US sets global trends behind governance shake-up,' International Financial Law Review, Fall 2004


'Improving corporate governance in SOEs: An integrated approach,' Corporate Governance International, June 2004


'Asia's corporate governance challenge' (with Dominic Barton and Paul Coombes), McKinsey Quarterly, 2004, Q2


'Chairman and CEO – One job or two?' (with Paul Coombes), McKinsey Quarterly, 2004, Q2


'Why codes of governance work' (with Paul Coombes), McKinsey Quarterly, 2004, Q2