The ownership and control of listed UK firms is often thought to be much simpler than the ownership and control of listed firms from most of the rest of the world, including Continental Europe. However, a study I coauthored with Svetlana Mira shows that this is not always the case. For example, the distinction between beneficial and non-beneficial holdings can introduce duplication in the holdings of insiders, which may be difficult to resolve. In a study forthcoming in The British Accounting Review, we highlight a number of challenges that researchers face when determining the ownership and control of listed UK firms. We propose ways of tackling these challenges. We expect these challenges to become more pronounced over the next years due to the recent changes to the UK listing rules following the Hill review. The study is available free of charge from here.
Philosophy of the Book Existing textbooks on corporate governance tend to have a strong focus on UK and/or US corporate governance. This focus is somewhat surprising as the UK and US corporate governance systems have features which clearly set them apart from pretty much the rest of the world. Indeed, the typical British and American stock-market listed firm is widely held (held by many shareholders) and control therefore lies with the management rather than the shareholders. In contrast, most stock-exchange listed firms from the rest of the world have a large shareholder whose control is substantial enough to have a significant influence over the firm’s affairs. Given these marked differences in ownership and control, corporate governance issues emerging in non-UK and non-US firms tend to be very different from those that may affect British and American companies. Hence, it is important for a textbook to bear in mind the diversity of ownership and control a