Commentator, broadcaster and author
Merryn Somerset Webb is an award winning commentator on economics, financial markets and personal finance as well as a popular speaker and broadcaster. She is a Senior Columnist at Bloomberg. Until recently she was Editor in Chief of Moneyweek, the UK’s best selling financial magazine and Contributing Editor to the Financial Times where she had a weekly column. She still has a monthly column in Moneyweek. Her new book Share Power looks at how ordinary people can use the power they already have to make capitalism work for everyone.
New book launch – Share Power
Back in the 1960s only 3% of the population owned shares. Today, in the UK at least, the vast majority of the working population own shares – mostly via their auto enrolment into various pension schemes. That should give us enormous power – after all every share come with a vote. However, as ever, the devil is in the detail. Most of us don’t hold our shares directly. We hold units in funds. So we don’t have our votes – the fund managers do, something that gives them most of our rights of ownership. This matters. It means we don’t get a say over how the world’s big companies are run (when we should). We don’t get to tell them how we feel about how they make, or don’t make us money, about how they should address climate risk, social issues and the needs of their various stakeholders for example. And it means that we don’t feel like owners, something that disengages us from the corporate world and the economy. It doesn’t have to be like this. The technology exists for us to able to take back our votes from the world’s big fund managers, learn how to use them and to vote for the kind of capitalism we want.
A lively and persuasive case for genuine shareholder democracy to make businesses properly accountable