UK - Pension trustees must show they are taking governance more seriously, financial services secretary Lord Myners says.
One of the obstacles highlighted by Myners was the existing model of dispersed equity ownership - which meant that too often shareholders are disunited.
He added: "Boards complain they hear conflicting views from shareholders and individual shareholders can become isolated."
He cited evidence that suggested shareholders were often too passive, "just accepting the decisions management make".
He urged: "Trustees owe it to their pension holders to challenge effectively where necessary. And the long-term financial value of insisting on sound governance should not be underestimated."
Against a scenario in which there is a risk if "no one feels bothered to think or act like an owner", disengaged investors could lead to ownerless corporations and the risk of unaccountable executives and boards.
Myners concluded trustees should dedicate proper resources to the task of preventing such a scenario. He said: "Improvements will not happen automatically; they will only come about through concerted action."
The speech comes almost exactly eight years after Lord Myners published his Review of Institutional Investment on March 6, 2001 - a report that criticised fund managers for being reluctant to intervene in companies where they own substantial shareholdings, even where this would be in their clients' financial interests.
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