Since 2012, BETTER FINANCE is the successor organisation to Euroshareholders, created in 1992 in Brussels to federate the associations of small shareholders throughout Europe.
The protection of the interests of individual shareholders are at the core of the mission of BETTER FINANCE. Individual shareownership of the European economy is very important to ensure an effective and long term financing of the real economy, as well as to improve the corporate governance of listed companies in Europe.Indeed, individual shareholders are mostly by nature long term investors and end-investors: they do bear the risks and rewards of share ownership contrary to “agency” ownership. They can also be “engaged” shareholders provided the exercise and enforcement of their rights are really there.
Unfortunately, financial EU policies have not been favorable overall to the development of individual share ownership in the EU despite the enactment of the EU Shareholders Rights Directive in 2007. As a result, the number of individual shareholders and their share of the EU listed EU companies capital has been going down during the last decades, to the benefit of “agency” ownership: investors who do not bear the risks and rewards of share ownership like investment funds. These agency owners have mostly a much shorter time horizon as demonstrated by their portfolio turnover rates, and charge fees to the beneficial owners.
BETTER FINANCE advocates for a stronger protection of individual shareholders rights.