Economics/Class Relations

Welcome to the age of asset manager capitalism

This has actually been the model of capitalism that has existed since the mid-20th century.

By Benjamin Braun and Adrienne Buller  Open Democracy

In the space of just a few decades, the ownership landscape of the global economy has been radically transformed. For much of the past half century, our large corporations were primarily owned by individual shareholders, insurers and pension funds. Today however, they are overwhelmingly owned by asset managers – financial intermediaries who invest on behalf of beneficiaries such as pension holders or wealthy individuals.

Crucially, this growth has been accompanied by an enormous concentration of assets and power within the asset management industry itself. BlackRock, the largest manager worldwide, controls $9 trillion in assets; its closest competitor, Vanguard, controls $7 trillion. Together, that’s enough to own every company listed on the London Stock Exchange, four times over. With ownership comes voting rights to shape corporations’ actions on everything from the climate crisis to working conditions.


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