The corporate governance of investment funds was hardly studied in Italy before the reform of 1998, when the Financial Markets Consolidated Act (TUF) entered into force, amending the rules on management companies (SGRs) and introducing new corporate governance rules for listed companies. Following this reform, it is now clear that the management of SGRs is an extremely delicate and sensitive matter, especially when the legislator assigns a central role in the governance of listed companies to these intermediaries.
From 1998 onwards, commentators have gradually started to pay more attention to this topic, and the quantity and quality of the measures taken by the supervisory authorities and the Professional Association of Fund Managers (Assogestioni) have also increased. Consequently, there has been a very lively and rich debate in recent years.
The present article intends to address this debate and attempts to examine the issue from a double point of view: that of the unit holders (conflict of interests risk) and that of the companies in which the stakes are held (funds as minority shareholders). These aspects may become intertwined in cases in which, for example, a manager buys shares in a company for purposes of control or, at any rate, for purposes other than maximising the profits of the unit holders' investment.