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Professor chastises world's largest asset manager: "Blackrock's criticism amateurish"

Business professor Steen Thomsen criticizes US-based Blackrock, which recently voted against a wage increase for the chairman of Danske Bank.

Photo: Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

Major US asset manager Blackrock recently voted against a wage increase for Danske Bank Chair Karsten Dybvad, and this move is now sharply criticized by Steen Thomsen, professor of corporate governance at Copenhagen Business School (CBS), in a feature article published by Danish business daily Børsen.

He writes that Blackrock is predominantly a passive investor, which is often bound to following a specific stock index, meaning it cannot just sell shares in companies where it is merely dissatisfied with the management. He also does not think the company is able to make qualified assessments of all the firms it invests in. Specifically to the case of Danske Bank, where Dybvad will now receive nearly DKK 4m (EUR 536,789), the professor holds that the raise should be seen in light of the chairman position currently being a full-time job entailing personal risks, which, according to Thomsen, means that Blackrock's criticism is "amateurish."

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