Thursday, 2 April 2009

Ownership meme

One of my recurring themes is the problematic nature of ownership in public companies. The shareholder-company relationship doesn't seem to function much like ownership (despite the best efforts of some of us) and at present I'm not sure the signs are good that it will in future (for example because of the DB to DC shift in pension provision, which will atomise share ownership further).

Both Duncan and Charlie are interested in this question too, so I'm passing the batton to you two to give your fellow bloggers a few ideas/comments on how we might make it work (or at least work better). What do we want pension funds, for example, to do? And pass this on to anyone else you think might have something interesting to say.

6 comments:

CharlieMcMenamin said...

Unfettered whatsoever by any professional knowledge I have bravely stated my uninformed views. If I get hammered, I'm blaming you...:)

I've also asked Arthur Bough, a far left economist with a passionate interest in co-ops, to contribute. I think you should ask Chris Dillow as well.

Duncan said...

Tom,

Thanks.

I'll have a go at this tomorrow morning.

Charlie is right - Chris would be another good one.

CharlieMcMenamin said...

Hi Tomm,
yo might fin tth dicussion on this post interesting, as it results fro your challenge. Boffy is a fairly unorthodox Trotskyist, but don't let that put you off.
http://boffyblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/boardroom-bourgeois-democracy.html

CharlieMcMenamin said...

Whoops - sorry about the typos there. I'm posting from a mini computer and my fingers are really too big for the keys....

Tom P said...

cheers Charlie - will take a look

CharlieMcMenamin said...

Hi Tom,
Well, Arthur Bough and I have been chuntering away on this meme - and,yes, I blame you.(see comments under his post that I previously linked too in the comments here). As a Marxist - I would say his economic views are Marxian - Arthur is resistant to the idea that there has been a meaningful separation of ownership and control.

You often make reference to the increasing level of 'churn' in portfolios - but is this a minority of shares in companies being repeatedly traded, or the majority of shares in most companies being traded less regularly? What I'm asking is where can I find data not on the changing pattern of portfolios amongst pension funds or other investors, but the stability or otherwise of ownership patterns in FTSE quoted firms.