The Week Unwrapped: Shareholder power, Serbian threats and Anglican angst

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters.

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In this week’s episode, we discuss:

Shareholder power

Larry Fink, the chairman and CEO of BlackRock – and arguably the most powerful person in finance – has said he wants his company to put power back in the hands of the people. The context is that BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, runs a lot of passive funds, of the sort that almost everyone with a pension will invest in, whether they know it or not. Critics of passive funds say they don’t encourage good stewardship: shareholder democracy is meant to be about “one share, one vote” – you own a bit of the company, so you should have a say in how it’s run – but a big asset manager like this effectively owns all the votes. So what is Fink’s solution?

Tension in Bosnia

The UN has issued a warning over rising hate speech in Bosnia ahead of national elections later this year. The intervention follows threats by Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik to pull the country’s Serb enclave – the Republica Srpska – out of key institutions, a move described as “tantamount to secession”. So is trouble once again brewing in Europe’s backyard – and does the West have the stomach to confront an outbreak of violence?  

Anglican angst

Anglican churches outside England would be given more of a say in the selection of the next Archbishop of Canterbury, under plans being discussed by the church. This reflects a shift in the global make-up of the congregation – Anglican church attendance is plummeting in the UK, but very healthy overseas – and also an attempt to address the church’s colonial past. But reforms intended to increase racial diversity could set back the representation of other groups, including women and LGBTQ+ people, in the church hierarchy.


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