Institutional Ownership and Governance

23 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2020 Last revised: 13 Feb 2020

See all articles by Julian R. Franks

Julian R. Franks

London Business School - Institute of Finance and Accounting; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: January 30, 2020


This paper describes different forms of ownership across countries and how these forms influence the way companies are governed. In most stock markets in the world, listed companies frequently have a controlling shareholder, usually a family. However, Japan, the UK, and to a lesser extent the US, are exceptions. In these three countries, ownership is frequently highly fragmented, where share stakes are held by different institutional owners, including asset managers, both active and passive, and by shareholder activists. The paper focuses in particular on the governance structure of different institutional shareholders, how they engage with target firms, and their effectiveness. The paper concludes with recommendations for regulators to enhance different forms of ownership.

Keywords: shareholder activism, institutional ownership, governance, institutional activism

JEL Classification: G2, G3

Suggested Citation

Franks, Julian R., Institutional Ownership and Governance (January 30, 2020). European Corporate Governance Institute – Finance Working Paper No. 656/2020, Available at SSRN: or

Julian R. Franks (Contact Author)

London Business School - Institute of Finance and Accounting ( email )

Institute of Finance and Accounting
Sussex Place - Regent's Park
London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom
+44 20 7262 5050 x3449 (Phone)
+44 20 7724 3317 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels


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