Owners of the World's Listed Companies
De La Cruz, A., A. Medina and Y. Tang (2019), “Owners of the World’s Listed Companies”, OECD Capital Market Series, Paris.
Posted: 5 Nov 2019 Last revised: 21 Nov 2019
Date Written: October 25, 2019
This paper describes the ownership structure in listed companies around the world. By using data for 10 000 largest listed companies, that together make up 90% of the global market capitalisation, we provide a description and comparison of the ownership structure of listed companies in 54 markets. We show first that institutional investors hold 41% of global market capitalisation and in advanced economies they have also become significant owners in individual companies. We also provide evidence of the significant ownership of the public sector that holds 14% of global stock market. In almost 10% of the world’s largest listed companies, does the public sector hold more than 50% of the shares. Last but not least, we measure the widespread concentration of ownership in individual companies. In half of the world’s listed companies, the three largest shareholders hold more than 50% of the capital.
The three main findings raise concerns about the influence on shareholder scrutiny and small growth company listings that come with increasing institutional ownership. In addition, the direct and indirect political influence on publicly traded companies that may follow from the significant amount of public sector ownership. And last, the effect of ownership concentration on increasing the scope for abusing the rights of other shareholders and, if not properly regulated, jeopardise market confidence. The picture of worldwide corporate ownership presented in this paper and the fact that diverse corporate governance regimes continue to co-exist, suggest that the discussion about national corporate governance policies should increasingly consider the ultimate long-term effects on productivity and business dynamics, as well as its impact on alternative funding sources such as private capital markets.
Keywords: Listed Companies, Corporate Governance, Institutional Investors, Public Sector, SOEs, Ownership Concentration
JEL Classification: G34, G38, G18, G23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation