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Over half of UK company shares owned by foreign investors

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The UK was hailed as a “global business destination” yesterday as new figures showed that more than half of shares in listed UK firms are now owned by foreign investors.

A whopping 53.2% of the UK’s quoted shares are now foreign-owned compared to 30.7% in 1998. The value of shares held by non-UK companies has soared from £460.9bn to £935.1bn.

However, the proportion of shares owned by UK investors has seen a drop over the last few years. Only 10.7% of the UK’s shares are still held by individual investors.

As of 2012, UK insurance companies held 6.2% of UK shares compared to 21.6% in 1998.

Also, UK pension funds now hold 4.7% of shares compared to 21.7% held in 1998.

The British taxpayer remains one of UK’s biggest shareholders with shareholdings valued at £42.6bn. This is a result of the government’s intervention in the banking collapse of 2008-09 where it injected money into RBS, Lloyds TSB and HBOS.

Nick Baird, the chief executive for UK Trade & Investment said: “These figures show that the UK remains a world-leading business destination as well as the growing confidence and trust that foreign investors have in UK businesses.”

A Confederation of British Industry spokesperson commented: “These figures show that the UK has been successful in attracting foreign investment, which is critical to our economic success.”

 




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