Hawley, James P. and Andrew T. Williams. The Rise of Fiduciary Capitalism: How Institutional Investors Can Make Corporate American More Democratic. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.

This book documents and discusses a shift in the composition of shareholders in U.S. corporations over the past 30 years. The authors show that, where institutional investors were in the minority in the early 1970s (80% of shareholders were individuals), today they have de facto control over many or most large American companies (as of 2000 institutions owned 60% of the largest 1000 firms).

"Hence, ownership and indeed private property in the corporate form is being rapidly transformed into an institution in which agents represent agents in what can be quite long and complex chains between the firm at one end and the ultimate beneficial 'owner' or claimant at the other."

The authors introduce the concept of the "universal owner", an institution representing many individual beneficiaries and investing in many companies, which therefore has a broad interest in issues of social importance such as education and the environment.

The authors correctly predict that "this will make for interesting corporate governance politics."