The European Corporation - Ownership and Control after 25 Years of Corporate Governance

The book The European Corporation is a collaboration amongst European scholars documenting country-specific evidence on the evolution of shareholder ownership and control which has proven to be a serious impediment to both legal and economic analysis and evidence-based policymaking. It provides systematic and comparable accounts of ownership and control structure change (respectively persistence) in large firms across Europe over the decades following the 'global corporate governance revolution' in the 1990s. Focusing on countries in Europe's four main regions, this book presents and discusses the net effects of the interplay between the 'global corporate governance revolution' and of its main countervailing forces in Europe.

For the Swiss market, Prof. Dr. Alexander F. Wagner and Dr. Christoph Wenk Bernasconi have analyzed the ownership of Swiss corporations in the last decades. A main finding is that in listed companies, there has been a substantial decrease of the fraction of ownership by the top three shareholders. For example, for the listed companies ranked 21 to 100, the median stake of the three largest shareholders dropped from 42.5% in 2008 to 36.6% in 2018. More generally, the concentration of the disclosed shareholders has decreased. Non-domestic investors hold large stakes in companies listed in Switzerland and have become more important in the largest, most mature companies -- not only have their share ownership significantly increased, but they are also more active in exercising their voting rights and in engaging with companies. In their chapter, Prof. Dr. Wagner and Dr. Wek also provide some evidence, drawing on a series of surveys of market participants, that these developments, especially the presence and increasing activity of non-domestic investors, have direct implications on the governance practice of companies listed in Switzerland.


More information on the book published by Cambridge University Press here


Learn more about coproate governance in a professional development course offered by Dr. Christoph Wenk Bernasconi from the University of Zurich | Finance Executive Education.

Course information