Share ownership transparency: between shareholder ideology and public accountability

Professor Lorraine Talbot and Dr Andreas Kokkinis compare the aspects of share ownership law in England and Japan

Students walking under the arches at the University of Birmingham arches

The question of transparency of ownership of shares in companies, technical as it may appear and neglected as it may have been in company law literature, cuts across several areas of policy and raises fundamental questions of political economy. Japan is one of the countries that is currently grappling with the complexities of beneficial ownership transparency, having attracted criticism by international bodies for the moderate to low transparency provided by its legal framework.  As researchers in Japan consider possible reforms in disclosure requirements for beneficial owners of shares in Japanese listed companies, in the context of increasing dominance of institutional investors, we have done work on the historical development and current implementation of disclosure arrangements for beneficial owners of shares in England.