I love it when something like this comes along! A recent paper, compiled by two physicists, looking into the ownership of global stocks, shares, bonds, corporations, etc. No easy task, as ownership is hidden behind a wall of obfuscation and dead-ends. Using mathematics models, however, they have managed to reveal that the ultimate ownership of global corporations leads back to surprisingly few individuals. See this report, entitled ' The backbone of complex networks and corporations and who is controlling them', especially the penultimate paragraph of the conclusion. Click on 'this paper'.
I notice, interestingly, that there has been an up-date, in Aug 2009, since the original was first published, and the title has been slightly modified: instead of reading....'and who is controlling them' it now reads 'the flow of control'. Maybe someone was getting nervous?