Individuals and companies belonging to some of the country's richest families topped the list of shareholders of the Philippines' 100 most valuable companies* listed at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), according to Forbes Philippines magazine.
Among individual shareholders, these included the children of Henry Sy Sr., the country's wealthiest person in the Forbes rich list. Family members of Iñigo Zobel, Lucio and Susan Co and John Gokongwei Jr. (whose daughter is president of Summit Media that publishes Entrepreneur PH) are also on top of the list. (See Figure 1)
On the other hand, the biggest corporate shareholders included the Sy family's SM Investments Corp., the Zobels' Ayala Corp., the Gokongweis' JG Summit Holdings, the Aboitizes' Aboitiz Equity Ventures and the Po family's Century Pacific Group. (See Figure 2)
The two lists were prepared by tallying the top 20 shareholders of each of the PSE's 100 most valuable companies and estimating the combined worth of each shareholder's stakes in the said companies.
The results showed that individuals accounted for only six percent of the 100 companies' total market capitalization while holding companies accounted for 61 percent. A surprising finding was that a third of the companies' combined value was held by a single entity called PCD Nominee Corp., which was shareholder on record for thousands of individuals and companies who are the actual or beneficial owners of the shares.
The large proportion of shares held by a nominee company renders the market less transparent. "While lodging the shares under the PCD Nominee Corp. facilitates trading on the stock exchange, it also hides the identity of the real owners of the shares, which diminishes market transparency," wrote Forbes Philippines.
* Based on a ranking of listed companies' market capitalization as of end-April 2016. Estimates of the combined value of shareholders' equity stakes are based on companies' market capitalization as of end-September 2016.