European Commission body to investigate the ownership of listed companies

Data could feed into regulatory initiatives on corporate governance

An advisory group of the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, is to investigate the ownership of EU-domiciled listed companies.

The Commission’s retail investor-focused Financial Services User Group says it plans the study to “better understand what shares are held by individual and institutional investors and how this evolved in the last two, three decades”.

It said: “The breakdown of investors could embrace households (individual investors), investment funds, pension funds, insurers as well as other institutions, and the idea would be to create a tool by which the shares of these investors could be measured regularly.”

The group expects the data to be “very useful” for any future policy initiatives from the Commission relating to securities and investments markets, as well as corporate governance.

The group is part of the Commission’s Internal Market and Services directorate headed by CommissionerMichel Barnier, who is leading the push on governance and CSR.

The body has now finalised the ‘collection of expressions of interest’ phase of the procurement. The study tender is for a “low value” contract worth between €25,000-€60,000.
The Financial Services User Group was formed in 2010 and took over from two earlier groups, the Forum of User Experts in the area of Financial Services and the Financial Services Consumer Group.

It is chaired by Mick McAteer, the founder of the UK not-for-profit think tank the Financial Inclusion Centre, which promotes “fair, inclusive, efficient and accountable financial markets”. McAteer is also a non-executive director of the UK financial regulator the Financial Services Authority.

The 20-member group advises the Commission on legislation and policy as well as “proactively” identifying issues.