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This introductory chapter provides the reader with some figures about institutional investors’ role in the governance of listed companies in the US and Europe.  Based on data drawn from various databases, we sketch out the phenomenon of share ownership reconcentration in the hands of institutional investors across jurisdictions, tracking the nationality and ownership of the largest asset managers as well as drawing some implications therefrom. In particular, we look into whether divergence in ownership patterns (the presence vs absence of a controlling shareholder), and the identity and characteristics of asset managers, may lead to divergence in the incentives structure for, and the focus of, shareholder engagement on the two sides of the Atlantic. Finally, we provide the reader with a roadmap of the book contents.

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