Why I agree with Larry Fink: Humana CEO

Humana CEO: In agreement with Fink

Humana CEO Bruce Broussard agrees with BlackRock CEO Larry Fink that corporate stock buybacks and dividend hikes are harmful to the long-term growth of companies.

Fink sent a letter Tuesday to the CEOs of 500 companies, saying too many of them were trying to return money to shareholders.

He wrote that the move "sends a discouraging message about a company's ability to use its resources wisely and develop a coherent plan to create value over the long term."

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Broussard concurred that long-term investing is important for short-term value as well as longer-term sustainability, especially in health care where there are so many ongoing changes.

While companies may be pressured by activist investors to buy back stocks or raise dividends, Broussard said it's important to have conversations with shareholders to lay out the firm's strategy.

"With the proper explanation and the proper view of the future, we find our investors are supportive of what we do," he said in an interview with "Power Lunch."

"We find that if you have the strategy, they usually will support you long term."

In his letter, Fink argued that "the effects of the short-termist phenomenon are troubling both to those seeking to save for long-term goals such as retirement and for our broader economy."

He went on to say that corporate leaders have responded to pressures to return capital, "while underinvesting in innovation, skilled workforces or essential capital expenditures necessary to sustain long-term growth."

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John Hailer, president and CEO of Natixis Global Asset Management, who was also on "Power Lunch," agreed with Fink, noting that one of the challenges today is that everybody is very transaction oriented.

"A lot of these ... activist investors as well as even individual investors are getting back into this transaction mentality," he said.

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He also agrees that there should be a tax code change that allows for people in corporations to understand the longer-term goals.

"When Washington's talking about tax reform, they should be looking at corporate and individual taxes in the same way and that's creating better long-term behavior out of investors."

Fink recommended that the tax structure be changed to tax investment gains after three years, not one, and that it should be taxed as ordinary income, not the capital gains rate. He advocated decreasing the tax rate for each year of ownership after three years.

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Jeff Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean at the Yale School of Management, applauded Fink for his "courage."

"We're eating our seed capital. Too many times CEOs are being shaken down, panicked," Sonnenfeld, also a CNBC contributor, said on the program.

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Activist investors have badgered companies to return capital when it clearly was not the right move for the company, he said.

"It makes no sense other than short-term fire sales of assets which is highly destructive. Dow, DuPont, Apple. We're picking on our finest companies. That's kind of crazy," Sonnenfeld said.

For example, Carl Ichan wanted Apple to buy back more shares last October, but most of that money was trapped overseas, he noted. Investors are anticipating the tech giant will reward shareholders with a bigger dividend and stock buyback when it reports earnings this month.

Earlier this year, investors called for General Motors to buy back $8 billion of its stock. However, with the automaker barely back from bankruptcy and now finally back on track, Sonnenfeld thinks it needs a cushion of support right now.

In March, GM said it would launch a new $5 billion share buyback.