Ownership: Evolution and Regulation

Ownership: Evolution and Regulation

Julian Franks, Colin Mayer, Stefano Rossi

Series number :

Serial Number: 
009/2003

Date posted :

January 01 2003

Last revised :

SSRN Share

Keywords

  • ownership • 
  • control • 
  • stock markets • 
  • investor protection

This paper is the first study of long-run evolution of investor protection and corporate ownership in the U.K. over the 20th century. Formal investor protection only emerged in the second half of the century. We assess its influence on ownership by comparing cross-sections of firms at different times in the century and the evolution of firms incorporating at different stages of the century.

Investor protection had little impact on dispersion of ownership: even in the absence of investor protection, there was a high rate of dispersion of ownership, primarily associated with mergers. Ownership dispersion in the UK relied more on informal relations of trust than on formal systems of regulation. Preliminary evidence for this comes from the geographical proximity of shareholders to their boards of directors, the absence of price discrimination in takeovers and retention of directors of target boards in merged firms.

Published in

Published in: 
Publication Title: 
Review of Financial Studies
Description: 
Volume 22, Issue 10, 1 October 2009, Pages 4009–4056,

Authors

Real name:
Fellow, Research Member, Board Member
Said Business School, University of Oxford