It is government policy to encourage a wide spread of share ownership among
the general public, and a number of incentive programmes support this
objective. However, these programmes are all rather small in scale and have
Virtually all shares of publicly held corporations are bearer shares
and are usually deposited with banks. The banks offer caretaking services to the
shareholders, which include collecting dividends on their behalf and also acting
as proxies at shareholders’ meetings. Since the banks generally recommend
how shareholders’ votes should be cast, they are often seen as having greater
voting power than justified by their own portfolios.
There are no significant controls preventing or restricting foreign investment as
such and the typical form of foreign participation in German industry is that of
a wholly or substantially majority-owned subsidiary.
Joint venture or minority
investments are comparatively rare and are usually the result of special