Corporate Board: Role, Duties & Composition, v. 16, n. 3, pp. 52-62. Abstract: There is no clear positive and significant impact of institutional investor activism in Brazil possibly due to lack of skills, portfolio diversification motivations (Sonza & Granzotto, 2018), and conflicts of interest (Maranho, Leal, & Bortolon, 2020). This article investigates two high profile activism cases to assess these conjectures and address two very large and widely held Brazilian companies, which had good corporate governance indicators and were not state-controlled or closely regulated. The cases involve the two largest Brazilian pension funds, both sponsored by state-owned companies because their size and importance would make a positive outcome more likely. Yet, in both cases, the pensions funds failed in their attempts, even when acting jointly with other foreign and domestic institutional investors. The conclusion suggests that these investors may lack skills to assess the likelihood and consequences of events that occurred soon after their investment and that changed the fundamental nature of their investees. This study places the lack of activism success under the general discussion of the challenge of costly active versus passive portfolio management. Finally, there was no evidence of conflicts of interest and political alignment of these state-related pension funds in these two activism situations.