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Carlyle To Let Shareholders Have More of a Say

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One of the biggest financial service companies around is changing the way it does business, and will give shareholders more of a voice than before. Cha-Cha-Changes The Carlyle Group has announced plans to become a “C” corporation. Before this news, the financial giant was a publicly traded partnership, and it will now be the first U.S. private equity firm to allow shareholder votes. Upping Its Valuation: Major stock indexes such as S&P Dow Jones and FTSE Russell have been moving to exclude companies with several different classes of stock from their indexes. By converting to a corporation and using a traditional “one share, one vote” structure, Carlyle is hoping that it can get included in these indexes and find a bigger marketplace. Sharing Is Caring Carlyle's single class of shares will give “greater say to the roughly 30% of shareholders who aren’t insiders at the firm” and will satisfy FTSE Russell’s minimum requirements for public-shareholder voting rights. Dual Citizens Though power will remained pooled among its executives, who have 66% voting power, Carlyle's adoption of a one share, one vote policy it notable because private equity firms are known for being cloistered off and secretive. And although Carlyle's majority stakeholders have said they'll vote in a block for up to the next five years, bringing shareholders into the fold—and allowing them to proxy vote on issues like executive pay—is a significant, modern shift yet to be adopted by other new kids on the block. -Michael Tedder Photo: Issei Kato/ REUTERS