Ronald Davis is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia. After practicing for 10 years as a pension and benefits lawyer at the firm of Koskie Minsky in Toronto, Ontario, he joined the UBC Faculty in 2003 following completion of his doctorate. He teaches pension and benefits law, trusts, corporate law and economic analysis of law. Professor Davis is an affiliated member of the UBC National Centre for Business Law. He is the author of books and articles on pension law, corporate governance and insolvency law and has presented papers on these topics both nationally and internationally. He is a co-author of a corporate law casebook entitled Business Organizations: Principles, Policies, and Practice published by Emond Montgomery in 2008.
He has written about the role of pension funds in enhancing environmental, social and governance performance by their investee corporations and the importance of financial market regulation in that process. In particular, "The Enron Pension Jigsaw: Assembling Accountable Corporate Governance by Fiduciaries" (2003) 36 UBC Law Review 541 and “Investor Control of Multi-national Corporations: A Market for Corporate Governance Based on Justice and Fairness?”, in Corporate Governance in Global Capital Markets (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2003) addressed these issues and foreshadowed the analysis in his book Democratizing Pension Funds: Corporate Governance and Accountability published by UBC Press in 2008. In this book he suggests that giving pension plan beneficiaries a voice in the corporate governance policy of their plans and providing a form of direct accountability to plan beneficiaries for the implementation of these policies by pension funds can overcome barriers to enhanced environmental, social and governance activity by these funds. In particular, Professor Davis suggests that the barriers that arise from the conflicts of interest over activist corporate governance, especially in private sector pension funds, and from the inhibiting effects of the fiduciary concerns of plan trustees about new initiatives that involve non-traditional criteria for assessing the benefits of investments can be reduced through the conflict reducing and legitimizing effect of beneficiary approval and oversight.
I have had a long-term interest in the factors that work to disconnect financial markets from the lives of those whose interests they are supposed to serve. The current financial crisis presents an opportunity to examine some of the fundamental concepts at work in our financial system and to re-think and re-articulate our conceptions of legitimate interests within a financial fiduciary relationship. A workable, multi-national regulatory system is a crucial element in making the transformation from concept to reality of the principles of the Network for Sustainable Financial Markets.