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

Do investors have more power than they realise? Is Bosnia on the verge of breaking up? And who will choose the next Archbishop of Canterbury?

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

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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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