When you buy shares of a publicly traded company, you’re a part owner and, in theory, have a right to vote on some important matters that come before that company’s board of directors.
Yet millions of people have had virtually no voice in the decisions of publicly traded American corporations, even though they have ownership stakes.
The problem is that those stakes are indirect — held through mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and pension funds. Under current regulations, these various funds control voting rights that might otherwise go to shareholders and to those who receive or are vested in pensions. And as indirect ownership of stocks grows, the problem is worsening.