April 18, 2003 | WebMemo on Taxes
As of January 2003, institutional investors held only about thirty percent of the outstanding shares of stock in a sample of7,158 publicly traded firms. Looked at differently, private investors held approximately seventy percent of these shares. In fact, sixty percent of these firms had less than one-third of their stocks owned by tax-exempt investors (see Table 1 - Percentage of Shares Held By Institutional Investors). Furthermore, when this sample is classified by common equity, number of common shares outstanding and book value of assets (measures of size), the data suggest that institutional investors are most likely to buy only the largest companies:
 To be precise, the President's plan actually eliminates the double tax on both types of corporate earnings, not just dividends. In addition to the personal dividend exclusion, the plan would also provide a basis adjustment for the portion of corporate earnings that are retained, thus lowering individuals' effective capital gains taxes. For more information on the plan, see U.S. Treasury Fact Sheet, January 14, 2003 at http://www.treas.gov/press/releases/kd3761.htm.
 Mutual fund companies, for example, are classified as Regulated Investment Companies (RIC), entities which pass income through to individual shareholders who are then subject to income taxes. The RIC itself, however, is not subject to income taxes.
 These figures, as well as all subsequent references to samples of publicly traded companies, are taken from Standard and Poor's Compustat database and reflect the percentage of shares held institutionally as of the latest available quarter, January 2003.
The median percentage of shares held institutionally is 18.92, with a standard deviation of 30.64. Together, these figures suggest that most firms are not majority owned by institutions. This sample consists of all publicly traded firms in the S&P Compustat database for which the measures IOTSHR0 (percentage of shares held by institutions), CSHO (common shares outstanding), and CEQ (common equity) are reported.
 Since the President's plan eliminates the double tax on both distributed and retained corporate income, both dividend paying and non-dividend paying firms would see a reduction in their cost of capital.
 Industry classification is according to 6 digit GICS code.