What Is Investment?

You do not have to own shares directly in a company to invest in it. Almost everyone is an investor. Don’t think you are? Read on.

If you pay into a personal or company pension, your pension fund is investing money through the stock market on your behalf. If you have a bank account, you are indirectly investing in a range of companies that the bank supports.

If you pay Council Tax, you are helping to fund your local council, which is almost certainly investing some of its money on the stock market. Many charities and churches own shares, as do many trades unions. So your donations or subscriptions to them may indirectly support the companies in which the shares are held.

Here we summarise various ways that shares may be held in companies and who is likely to hold them. This applies mainly to the UK context but many of the principles will be relevant elsewhere. Click here if you want to go straight to thinking about ethics.

Part 1 – Direct Shareholders

Part 2 – Nominee Holders

Part 3 – Indirect Shareholders

Part 4 – Pension Funds

Part 5 – Banks, Building Societies and Insurance Companies