1. Global markets, corporate ownership and sustainability

This chapter provides an overview of developments in equity and corporate bond markets worldwide including in the global landscape of listed companies and in the use of public equity via initial and secondary public offerings. It also offers an overview of the ownership structure of listed companies and of the use of corporate bonds in global capital markets. Finally, the chapter presents recent developments in corporate governance frameworks and corporate practices in relation to sustainability issues. The information presented in this chapter has a global coverage beyond the 49 jurisdictions covered in the Factbook and provides context for the information presented in the following chapters.

Equity markets offer companies access to the risk-willing, long-term capital needed in order to invest and ultimately contribute to economic growth. They also offer a secondary market that allows companies to continue accessing perpetual capital after their initial listing. In addition, equity markets contribute to the broader resilience of our economies. In times of crisis, when bank lending tends to contract, equity markets continue offering capital. Equity markets also remain the largest asset class available to households, offering the opportunity to manage their savings and share in the growth of the corporate sector.

At the end of 2022, there were almost 44 000 listed companies in the world with a total market capitalisation of USD 98 trillion. Company ownership data are available for 30 871 of these companies. Figure 1.1 provides a picture of the size of the key markets and regions according to the number of listed companies and market capitalisation for all listed companies. The United States remains the largest market by market capitalisation, while Asia has the highest number of listed companies.

Global market capitalisation increased from USD 84 trillion in 2017 to USD 98 trillion in 2022, while the number of listed companies increased from approximately 41 000 in 2017 to almost 44 000 in 2022. This increase was mainly driven by emerging economies, where the number of listed companies increased from around 16 000 in 2017 to over 20 000 in 2022. On the contrary, many advanced economies have seen a continuous decrease in the number of listed companies, mainly driven by a substantial and structural decline in listings of smaller growth companies, distancing a larger portion of these companies from ready access to public equity financing.

Table 1.1 provides an overview of the total market capitalisation and number of listed companies across the 49 Factbook jurisdictions, including OECD, G20 and Financial Stability Board members. It is important to note that the Factbook and data of Table 1.1 by jurisdiction focus on companies that issue equity on the regulated or main markets. Recognising that some jurisdictions have a significant number of companies in alternative market segments which may provide relevant opportunities for SME and growth company financing, Box 1.1 provides an overview of these alternative market segments for selected jurisdictions. However, more comprehensive data on these alternative segments have not been included in Table 1.1, recognising that they present methodological challenges that would require further study to ensure data comparability across jurisdictions, as well as to develop a clear understanding regarding the corporate governance frameworks applied to such markets.

Table 1.2 provides a breakdown of the largest stock exchanges in each jurisdiction and their characteristics.

Since the mid-1990s, the public equity market landscape has undergone important changes. One important development has been an increasing use of public equity markets by Asian companies. In the 1990s, European non-financial companies – mainly from the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy – played a leading role in the global scene in terms of initial public offerings (IPOs), accounting for 41% of all capital raised, with over 3 500 listings during that period. Since then, European IPOs have declined both in absolute and relative terms. European non-financial companies raised only 24% of the total equity capital raised via IPOs during the 2001-11 period, dropping to 19% between 2012 and 2022 (Figure 1.2).

Asian companies have significantly increased their participation in global equity markets, from raising 22% of global IPO proceeds during the 1990s to 44% during the 2012-22 period. Importantly, the capital raised by non-financial companies in Asia has surpassed that of financial companies. The growth of Asian markets is mainly the result of a surge in Chinese IPOs. The number of Chinese IPOs more than tripled between the 1990-2000 period and the 2012-22 period, and they now represent almost one-third of the global proceeds. The Japanese market, which in 2001-11 experienced a decline in total IPO proceeds compared to the 1990s, saw a 15% increase during 2012-22, which also contributed to the increased importance of Asian equity markets during the past decade. The participation of Latin American companies in global capital markets has declined, with their amount of capital raised via IPOs contracting by 38% between 2001-11 and 2012-22.

The surge in IPOs of Asian companies has led to an increase in the share of Asian listed companies in all listed companies. At the beginning of 2023, 56% of the world’s listed companies were listed on Asian stock exchanges, together representing 30% of the market capitalisation of the world’s listed companies.

The shift towards Asia has been even more pronounced with respect to the number of IPOs by non-financial companies. Chinese non-financial companies have been the world’s most frequent users of IPOs during the past decade, with about two and a half times as many IPOs as US companies (Figure 1.3). Moreover, other Asian markets – India, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong (China) – also rank among the top ten IPO markets globally. Importantly, several emerging Asian markets (shown in blue in Figure 1.3), such as Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, rank higher in terms of IPOs than most advanced non-Asian economies (shown in orange). Only one EU member state – Sweden – is in the top ten.

Secondary public offerings (SPOs or follow-on offerings) allow companies that are already listed to continue raising equity capital on primary markets after their IPO. The proceeds from the SPO may be used for a variety of purposes and can also help fundamentally sound companies to bridge a temporary downturn in economic activity. In this regard, SPOs played an important role in providing the corporate sector with equity in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis as well as during the COVID-19 crisis.

The use of SPOs as a source of financing has gained momentum over the last two decades. In 2020, non-financial companies raised a record USD 708 billion via SPOs. The proceeds raised between 2012 and 2022 worldwide totalled USD 7.4 trillion, which is more than twice the amount raised during the 1990s. All regions experienced an increase in the use of SPOs (Figure 1.4). In Europe and the United States – the dominant regions in terms of SPO volume – the proceeds increased by over one-third between 1990-2000 and 2012-22. While the use of SPOs was marginal in China during the 1990s, Chinese companies raised USD 1.55 trillion in equity through SPOs between 2012 and 2022, which represents 21% of the total equity raised in the world through SPOs during that period.

The steady growth in SPOs worldwide has also shifted the importance of public equity financing from IPOs to SPOs with respect to the total funds raised. While in the 1990s, SPOs accounted for half of the proceeds raised in public equity markets (IPOs and SPOs combined), since the early 2000s this share has been increasing, reaching a record 89% of the total proceeds in 2009. The United States and Europe experienced both a decrease in IPOs and an increase in SPOs. The increasing needs of already listed companies for capital to continue expanding partly explain this increase in SPOs. In addition, listed companies in these markets regularly acquire smaller non-listed companies, and these acquisitions may be financed through SPOs.

Today’s equity markets are characterised by the prevalence of concentrated ownership in listed companies and a wide variety of ownership structures across countries. Historically, however, most of the corporate governance debate has focused on situations with dispersed ownership, where the challenge of aligning the interests of shareholders and managers dominates. Recent developments have shifted ownership structures of listed companies towards concentrated ownership models. The first factor contributing to this is the increasing importance of Asian companies in stock markets. Since Asian companies often have a controlling shareholder – either a corporation, family or the state – their growing presence in capital markets has increased the prevalence of controlled companies. The second factor impacting concentration at the company level is the rise of institutional investors. While assets under management by institutional investors have increased during the last two decades, many companies in advanced economies have left public equity markets. Therefore, a growing amount of funds flowing into a decreasing number of companies has increased ownership concentration at the company level. The third factor has been the partial privatisation of many state-owned companies through stock market listings since the 1990s. In many cases, privatisation through stock market listings has not led to any change in control and today states have controlling stakes in a large number of listed companies, particularly in emerging Asian markets.

This section provides a global overview of the ownership of listed companies, both in terms of the different categories of investors and the degree of ownership concentration at the company level. Table 1.1 provides characteristics related to these categories of shareholders and the extent of ownership concentration across companies that issue equity on the regulated or main markets in the 49 jurisdictions covered by the Factbook.

The findings presented in Figure 1.5 build on firm-level ownership information from almost 31 000 listed companies from 100 different markets. Together, these companies represent 98% of global stock market capitalisation. Using ownership information for each company, investors were classified into five categories following (De La Cruz, Medina and Tang, 2019[3]): private corporations, public sector, strategic individuals, institutional investors and other free-float. Figure 1.5 shows the distribution of shareholdings among these five different investor categories at the global and regional levels. At the global level, institutional investors are the largest investors and own 44% of global market capitalisation, followed by the public sector with 11%, private corporations with 10%, and strategic individuals with 8%. The remaining 27% free-float is owned by shareholders who do not reach the threshold for mandatory disclosure of their shareholdings and by retail investors who are not required to disclose their shareholdings.

Figure 1.5 also shows how the importance of the different investor categories varies across markets. Institutional investors are by far the most dominant shareholders in the United States, where they own at least 70% of equity, with some of the unreported free-float also likely to be owned by them. Institutional investors are also the largest investors in Europe, Japan and other advanced markets. In China, institutional investors are the smallest investors, owning around 11% of market capitalisation, and the public sector is the largest investor, owning almost 30% of all equity. The public sector is also a significant owner in Asia (excluding China and Japan) with a 13% ownership. Corporations are important owners in some regions. This is the case in Latin America and Asia (excluding China and Japan) where corporations own 29% and 26% of market capitalisation respectively, and in Japan where they own 22%. These figures suggest that private corporations and holding companies are important owners in listed companies, and in many cases also the presence of group structures.

The degree of ownership concentration in an individual company is not only important for the relationship between owners and managers, it may also require additional focus on the relationship between controlling owners and non-controlling owners. The ownership structure in most markets today is characterised by a high degree of concentration at the company level. Figure 1.6 shows the share of companies in each jurisdiction where the single largest shareholder and the three largest shareholders own more than 50% of the company’s equity capital. In half of the markets, at least one-third of all listed companies have a single owner holding more than 50% of the equity capital. In Peru, Argentina, Chile and Indonesia, more than 60% of companies have a single shareholder holding more than half of the equity capital.

Figure 1.7 provides a closer look at ownership concentration at the company level in each market by showing the average combined holdings of the three largest and 20 largest shareholders. In 25 of 44 jurisdictions, the three largest shareholders own on average more than 50% of the company’s equity capital. The markets with the lowest ownership concentration, measured as the combined holdings of the three largest shareholders, are Australia, Finland, Ireland, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, where the three largest shareholders still own a significant average combined holding, ranging between 33% and 36% of the company’s equity capital. Moreover, in all these jurisdictions, the 20 largest shareholders own on average between 45% and 63% of the company’s capital.

Table 1.1 provides a comparison of ownership concentration across the Factbook’s 49 jurisdictions based on the percentage of companies where the three largest shareholders own at least 50% of the shares. In 39 of the jurisdictions, the three largest owners hold more than 50% of the equity capital in at least one-third of all listed companies.

While the means and processes differ from those of shareholders, bondholders play an important role in defining the boundaries of corporate actions and in monitoring corporate performance. This is particularly salient in times of financial distress. Like equity, bonds typically provide longer-term financing than traditional bank loans and serve as a useful source of capital for companies seeking to diversify their capital base.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, corporate bonds have become both an important source of financing for non-financial corporations and an important asset class for investors. The low cost of debt resulting from sustained periods of expansive monetary policy has incentivised more, and riskier, issuers to borrow, using both corporate bonds and other instruments. In 2020, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, non-financial companies rushed to tap corporate bond markets, issuing a record USD 3.3 trillion. In 2021, total issuance declined to USD 2.7 trillion, and in 2022, a tighter monetary policy environment increased the cost of debt, causing issuance to fall by more than a third to a total of USD 1.7 trillion.

Annual corporate bond issuance almost doubled from an average of USD 1.2 trillion during the 2001-11 period to USD 2.3 trillion during the 2012-22 period (Figure 1.8). In many countries, the increasing use of corporate bonds has been supported by regulatory initiatives aimed at stimulating their use as a viable source of long-term funding for non-financial companies. Except in the case of Japan, the figure shows that amounts issued have consistently increased since 1990. Importantly, while corporate bond issuances in China were negligible in the 1990s, since 2012 they have grown significantly. A similar trend has been observed in Asia (excluding China and Japan) where non-financial corporate bond issuances were 40 times higher during the 2012-22 period compared to the 1990-2000 period. In Europe, issuances since 2012 have almost quadrupled from the amount issued between 1990 and 2000. In the United States, corporate bond issuances by non-financial corporations almost tripled during the 2012-22 period compared to the 1990s.

An important characteristic of global bond markets is the dominance of US corporate bond issuers. US companies are the largest users of corporate bonds, accounting for 40% of total issuances between 2012 and 2022. Over the same period, Chinese and European corporate bond issuances accounted for 21% and 19% of global issuances respectively.

This surge in the use of corporate bond financing has further highlighted the role of corporate bonds in corporate governance. For example, covenants, which are clauses in a bond contract that are designed to protect bondholders against actions that issuers can take at their expense, may have a strong influence on the governance of issuer companies. Covenants may range from specifying the conditions for dividend payments to clauses that require issuers to meet certain disclosure requirements.

One important feature of global corporate bond markets has been the decline in credit quality since 1990. Each year since 2010, with the exception of 2018 and 2022, more than 20% of the total amount of all bond issues was non-investment grade. In 2021, 35% of all non-financial corporate bond issuances was non-investment grade. As a result of the tightening financing conditions in 2022, the share of non-investment grade bonds dropped to 14% of all bond issuances. Importantly, over the last four years, the share of BBB rated bonds – the lowest investment grade rating – on average accounted for 54% of all investment grade issuance, higher than in previous years.

The global outstanding amount of non-financial corporate bonds reached a record level in 2021, amounting to USD 16.6 trillion in real terms, more than twice the 2008 amount. A similar pattern was observed in all regions. The outstanding amount of non-financial corporate bonds dropped to USD 15.4 trillion in 2022 as a result of the contraction in new issuances that year. Almost 45% of the outstanding amount of non-financial corporate bonds corresponds to US bonds, followed by European and Chinese bonds representing 20% and 16% of the total outstanding amount respectively. The outstanding amount of bonds issued by non-financial companies in Asia (excluding China and Japan) represented 6% of the total outstanding amount. Other regions’ outstanding amounts represented less than 5% of the total in 2022 (Figure 1.9).

All Factbook jurisdictions have established relevant provisions, specific requirements or recommendations with respect to sustainability-related disclosure that apply to at least large listed companies.

The corporate sector plays a central role in advancing the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy. In fact, climate change is a financially material risk for listed companies representing two-thirds of global market capitalisation. Human capital, human rights and community relations, water and wastewater management and supply chain management, among other sustainability matters, are also critical risks for many listed companies (OECD, 2022[4]). This is why the revised G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance issued in 2023 include a new chapter on corporate sustainability and resilience, and why the Factbook also includes a new section on corporate sustainability issues (OECD, 2023[5]). The new chapter in the Principles presents a range of recommendations on corporate disclosure, the dialogue between a company and its shareholders and stakeholders on sustainability-related matters, and the role of the board in addressing these matters.

The Principles recognise sustainability-related disclosure as essential to ensure the efficiency of capital markets and to allow shareholders to exercise their rights on an informed basis. All the jurisdictions surveyed have established relevant provisions, specific requirements or recommendations with respect to sustainability-related disclosure. A requirement in the law or regulations has been established in nearly two-thirds of the jurisdictions, while a requirement in listing rules has been established in 8% of the jurisdictions (Figure 1.10). In 24% of the jurisdictions, sustainability-related disclosure is a recommendation provided by codes or principles, including frameworks set by the regulator or stock exchange following a “comply or explain” approach. In terms of the applicability of such relevant provisions, specific requirements or recommendations, sustainability information must or is recommended to be disclosed only by listed companies in 25 jurisdictions, while in the other 24 jurisdictions such disclosure framework covers both listed and non-listed companies.

In the European Union, the 2014 Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) has been the main source for member countries’ sustainability-related disclosure requirements. The NFRD requires listed companies, as well as non-listed companies that are public interest entities above certain thresholds, to disclose sustainability information. However, companies may choose the disclosure standard they prefer to use. The 2022 Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) will generate some important changes in EU member countries’ regulatory frameworks. One of the most relevant changes introduced by the CSRD is that companies subject to the new Directive will have to disclose sustainability-related information according to the EU Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS), which are being developed by the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG).

As a result of existing sustainability-related disclosure provisions, along with the growing consideration investors are devoting to sustainability-related information, almost 8 000 companies listed in 73 markets globally disclosed sustainability information in 2021. These companies represent 84% of global market capitalisation, ranging from 66% in China where sustainability-related disclosure is only recommended to 95% in Europe (Figure 1.10, Panel B). Notwithstanding, these companies represent only 19% of all listed companies globally, ranging from 17% in China to 34% in Europe (Figure 1.10, Panel B). This difference between the market capitalisation and number of companies ratios may be partially explained by the fact that 30 of the jurisdictions allow smaller listed companies not to disclose sustainability-related information (Table 1.3). Moreover, in the 12 jurisdictions that only recommend the disclosure of sustainability-related information, large listed companies may be more responsive to institutional investor demand for such information.

Investors’ confidence in sustainability-related information may be strengthened when the information is reviewed by an independent third party. This is why the Principles recommend that the “phasing in of requirements should be considered for annual assurance attestations by an independent, competent and qualified attestation service provider.” In 2022, almost 2 700 companies that account for 60% of those that disclosed sustainability-related information by market capitalisation globally, hired an independent third party for the assurance of 2021 sustainability-related information (Figure 1.11, Panel A). Europe has the highest share of companies providing assurance of sustainability-related information, where 81% of the companies that disclosed sustainability-related information by market capitalisation, hired an independent third party.

The consistency, comparability, and reliability of sustainability-related information can also be reinforced if it follows “high quality, understandable, enforceable and internationally recognised standards”, as recommended by the Principles. Of the 49 jurisdictions surveyed, six (Australia, Canada, Colombia, Japan, Singapore, and the United Kingdom) require or recommend the use of an international disclosure standard, while another 11 require or recommend a local one (Table 1.3). The remaining 32 jurisdictions allow companies to disclose their sustainability-related information according to the reporting framework of their choice.

Currently, listed companies often disclose a full (or partial) alignment with one or more international reporting standards. Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards, Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) recommendations or SASB standards were used in their 2021 sustainability-related disclosure by companies representing an average of 42% of global market capitalisation (Figure 1.11, Panel B). The CDP questionnaires, formerly known as Climate Disclosure Project, were used by listed companies representing 55% of market capitalisation globally. Regional variations in the use of standards are noteworthy. For instance, TCFD recommendations were prominent in most regions except in China and Others, and SASB standards were used less in China, Japan, and Others.

In addition to recommending the disclosure of all sustainability-related material information, the Principles add the specific recommendation that, “if a company publicly sets a sustainability-related goal or target, the disclosure framework should provide that reliable metrics are regularly disclosed in an easily accessible form.” This is important to allow investors to assess the credibility of, and progress towards meeting an announced goal or target. Fifty-three percent of the jurisdictions surveyed already require or recommend the disclosure of metrics for sustainability-related goals. In 16 jurisdictions, a requirement has been established in the law or regulation, while in two of them the requirement has been established in the listing rules. In eight jurisdictions, the disclosure of such metrics is recommended in codes or principles (Figure 1.12, Panel A).

One of the most relevant sustainability-related metrics for many companies is greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. More than 5 000 listed companies representing 72% of global market capitalisation publicly disclosed their 2021 GHG emissions resulting directly from their activities and indirect emissions related to their energy consumption (known as scope 1 and scope 2 GHG emissions respectively), and 3 300 companies (56% of market capitalisation) disclosed the emissions generated in their supply chains, (known as scope 3 GHG emissions) (OECD Corporate Sustainability dataset, Refinitiv, Bloomberg). Companies are complementing these performance measurements with the disclosure of GHG emissions reduction targets. With the exception of companies listed in China, companies representing at least 40% of market capitalisation in the other selected regions disclose GHG emissions reduction targets, with higher shares in Europe, the United States and Japan (Figure 1.12, Panel B).

The Principles recommend that “the corporate governance framework should ensure that boards adequately consider material sustainability risks and opportunities when fulfilling their key functions”. In half of the jurisdictions surveyed, boards are explicitly required or recommended to approve policies on sustainability-related matters such as sustainability plans and targets, as well as internal control policies and management of sustainability risks. This is a legal or regulatory requirement in eight countries (Belgium, France, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Poland, Portugal, and Switzerland); a listing rules requirement in three jurisdictions (Hong Kong (China); Singapore; and South Africa); and a recommendation in 14 jurisdictions (Table 1.4). In the other half of the jurisdictions, there are no explicit requirements on board responsibilities for sustainability-related policies but, depending on the materiality of the sustainability matter for the company, broad directors’ duties may apply. This is the case in Australia and Norway, for example.

Boards may establish a new committee or expand the role of an existing one to support the board’s role in monitoring and guiding sustainability-related governance practices, disclosure, strategy, risk management and internal control systems. Globally, companies representing half of total market capitalisation have a board committee responsible for sustainability, regardless of the specific name attributed to such committee (Figure 1.13, Panel A). The share of companies that have such a committee is above the global average in the United States (65% of market capitalisation), Others (55%) and Asia excl. China and Japan (54%), while it is less common in Japan (21%) and China (13%).

Boards may also use sustainability-related metrics when determining executive remuneration or nomination policies. In Europe and Other advanced, over 70% of companies by market capitalisation link their executive compensation to sustainability matters, and in the United States and Others, between 50% and 60% do so. In the other regions, these shares range from 5% in China to 27% in Latin America (Figure 1.13, Panel B).

The Principles recommend that corporate governance frameworks require ESG rating and data providers, as well as index providers, where regulated, to disclose and minimise conflicts of interest that might compromise the integrity of their analysis and advice. The Principles also state that the methodologies used by ESG rating and index providers should be transparent and publicly available. In Europe, the administration of indices used as benchmarks is subject to EU Regulation 2016/1011 (EU Benchmarks Regulation), which includes rules on governance, conflicts of interest, and benchmark transparency to users. Index providers must be authorised or registered by their competent national authority to ensure that the indexes they provide can be used in the European Union, but requirements vary depending on the importance of the benchmark concerned. The EU Benchmarks Regulation applies to different types of indices (i.e. not only to ESG index providers), but an amendment implemented by EU Regulation 2019/2089 introduced new rules applicable specifically to “EU Climate Transition Benchmarks” and “EU Paris-aligned Benchmarks index providers”.

Outside the European Union, index providers – including ESG index providers – are only regulated in China and in the United Kingdom among the Factbook jurisdictions (Table 1.4). Policies for the management of conflicts of interest and their disclosure for ESG rating providers are not widespread across the legal frameworks of the Factbook jurisdictions and are still a developing practice.

The main source of information is the FactSet Ownership database. This dataset covers companies with a market capitalisation of more than USD 50 million and accounts for all positions equal to or larger than 0.1% of the issued shares. Data are collected as of end of 2022 in current USD, thus no currency nor inflation adjustment is needed. The data are complemented and verified using Refinitiv and Bloomberg. Market information for each company is collected from Refinitiv. The dataset includes the records of owners for 30 871 companies listed on 100 economies covering 98% of the world market capitalisation. For each of the countries/regions presented, the information corresponds to all listed companies in those countries/regions with available information. The five categories of owners defined and used in this report follow (De La Cruz, Medina and Tang, 2019[3]).

The information on initial public offering (IPOs) and secondary public offerings (SPOs or follow-on offerings) presented in Chapter 1 is based on transaction and/or firm-level data gathered from several financial databases, such as Refinitiv (Eikon Screener, Datastream), FactSet and Bloomberg. Considerable resources have been committed to ensuring the consistency and quality of the dataset. Different data sources are checked against each other and, the information is also controlled against original sources, including regulator, stock exchange and company websites and financial statements.

The dataset includes information about all initial public offerings (IPOs) and secondary public offerings (SPOs or follow-on offerings) by financial and non-financial companies. Initial public offerings in this report are defined as those listing on the main market where the capital raised is greater than zero. Therefore, direct listings are not recorded as an IPO in this database. All public equity listings following an IPO, including the first-time listings on an exchange other than the primary exchange, are classified as an SPO. If a company is listed on more than one exchange within 180 days, those transactions are consolidated under one IPO. The country breakdown is carried out based on the domicile of the issuer not on the stock exchange location. The database excludes the IPOs and SPOs by trusts, funds and special purpose acquisition companies.

Data presented on corporate bond issuances in Chapter 1 are based on OECD calculations using data obtained from Refinitiv Eikon that provides international deal-level data on new issues of corporate bonds that are underwritten by an investment bank.

Convertible bonds, deals that were registered but not consummated, preferred shares, sukuk bonds, bonds with an original maturity less than or equal to one year or an issue size less than USD 1 million are excluded from the dataset. The analyses in the report are limited to bond issues by non-financial companies. For the calculation of the outstanding amount of corporate bonds, in a given year, issues that are no longer outstanding due to being redeemed earlier than their maturity are also deducted. The early redemption data are obtained from Refinitiv Eikon and cover bonds that have been redeemed early due to being repaid via final default distribution, called, liquidated, put or repurchased. The industry classification is carried out based on the Refinitiv Business Classification (TRBC) Industry Description. The country breakdown is carried out based on the issuer’s country of domicile. Yearly issuance amounts initially collected in USD were adjusted by 2022 US Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The information on sustainability issues presented in Section 1.8 is based on a firm-level dataset containing records for up to 13 800 listed companies with a total of USD 113 trillion market capitalisation listed on 83 markets in 2021. The coverage may vary depending on the selected issue. The main data sources, Refinitiv and Bloomberg, were controlled against each other to ensure consistency. The disclosed data contains information on sustainability reporting, the external audit of sustainability reporting, the presence of a sustainability committee reporting directly to the board, and executive remuneration linked to sustainability factors and targets. Sustainability disclosure by trusts, funds or special purpose acquisition companies was excluded from the sample under analysis.


[2] Annunziata, F. (2021), The best of all possible worlds? The access of SMEs to trading venues: Freedom, conditioning and gold-plating, European Banking Institute, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3865182.

[3] De La Cruz, A., A. Medina and Y. Tang (2019), “Owners of the World’s Listed Companies”, OECD Capital Market Series, Paris, https://www.oecd.org/corporate/Owners-of-the-Worlds-Listed-Companies.htm.

[1] FESE (2022), European Exchange Report, https://www.fese.eu/app/uploads/2023/07/European-Exchange Report 2022_final.pdf.

[5] OECD (2023), G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance 2023, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/ed750b30-en.

[4] OECD (2022), Climate Change and Corporate Governance, Corporate Governance, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/272d85c3-en.

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