Foreign investors own more than half UK shares, ONS says

Share dealers in New York
Image caption Most UK shares owned by foreign investors are in North American hands

For the first time foreign investors now own more than half of UK-listed shares, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It says more than half (53.2%) of UK shares were held in 2012 by investors outside the UK, up from 43.4% in 2010.

The ONS' record of the ownership of UK-quoted shares shows the number of foreign share owners has been increasing steadily since the 1980s.

Many are North American, who account for 48.3% of overseas investors.

European investors own 25.8% of foreign-held shares.

The total value of listed shares on UK stock markets in 2012 was £1,756.3bn, up just 0.2% from 2010.

Individual UK shareholders held 10.7% of the total, up from a record low two years ago of 10.2%.

The percentage held by unit trusts, which are funds managed on behalf of groups of investors, also rose to 9.6% from 8.8%.

However, UK pension funds saw their holdings drop to 4.7%, from 5.6% in 2010

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