The Ultimate Controlling Owner of Spanish Commercial Banks
SIZE AND EFFICIENCY IN THE EUROPEAN BANKING INDUSTRY, E. Vallelado, P. Molyneux, eds., Editoral Comares, Granada, 2007
28 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2008
The aim of this paper is to analyze the ownership and control structure of Spanish commercial banks during the period 1996-2004. Using the methodology of control chains our data shows that 97% of Spanish commercial banks have an ultimate controlling owner. In concrete, families are the main ultimate owner controlling 26% of the entities. This ownership concentration in the Spanish banking sector reveals a potential governance problem about the expropriation of the minority shareholders and the depositors by the ultimate controlling owner. The incentive to expropriate worsens due to the great gap existing between cash flow and voting rights of the controlling shareholder (the ratio between both of them amounts to 62%). Looking at our descriptive results, if there is a high incentive to expropriate the mean of the banks' performance is low. Additionally, we find that the incentive to expropriate is high when the ultimate controlling owner is: 1) the only significant shareholder; 2) a foreign shareholder; 3) from a civil law country; or, 4) using pyramidal structures to exercise his control.
Keywords: ownership, control, banks, pyramids, corporate governance
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