(not sure where to ask about this, since there seems to be no generic finance forum in stackexchange).

I am trying to find out who are the owners of the european central banks. I do not mean the European Central Bank, which is owned by the national central banks; I mean the Bundesbank, the Spanish Central Bank, the Italian Central Bank, and so on. Is this information public? Is there a central register where the shareholders are listed?

Currently I have found just a polemic article on the subject, and I would like to get more detailed information.


Currently I think (but I am not completely sure), that the Bundesbank, the Dutch central Bank and the Spanish Central Bank are public entities (owned by the government), but the Italian, the English and the Danish central banks are private entities (owned mainly by other private banks). I would like to find an official list for this.

Also, for other important banks: the FED and the BoJ seem to be private, and the BoC is public.


Theoretically, the European Union's governments. A cynical would say in practice they're all owned by each country's plutocrats.

The confusion may come because of comparisons with the US Federal Reserve, which despite the name is not a government agency, but rather a cartel of privately owned banks with the awarded privilege of printing money. As far as I know, only the USA alone have kept this model since the 19th century, the rest of the world have public entities managing the central banks of each country - supposedly in the best interest of each country.

And on the Redshielded family... they're far from being the only banking dynasty in Europe, let alone in the world, though the most famous they may be. So many things are told about them that it's difficult to separate what's fact than fantasy. We can be sure they've got plenty of money and a lot of influence in national economic policies thru the number of enterprises they control (not just banking, but also wines and ships, among many others). But then we're talking about hundreds of individuals in several countries, with some inter-family conflicts, some abandoning the fold or entering other business areas, etc. so you can safely disregard their acting altogether all of them just by using common sense.

  • Well, that is exactly what I would like to do: to separate fact from fantasy. I am not interested in conspiracy theories (although they are maybe correct). What I would like to know is the actual capital structure of the central banks, as of today. I am not trying to judge anything, I just want to know the facts. This should be public information, since central banking is an activity affecting all european citizens. I find it surprising that this information is so difficult to find.
    – blueFast
    Dec 29 '13 at 15:52

According to the German wikipedia entry the Bundesbank is part of the public administration of Germany.

AFAIK, Central Banks generally are part of the Government or Public Administration of the respective countries and was surprised when I learned this year that the Fed is in fact privately owned.

I am afraid that I am too lazy to check whether the other 27 Central Banks in the EU are government owned, but I think the Wikipedia article on the European System of Central Banks is probably a good starting point to research it.

  • Sorry, but that language is confusing. What does it mean to be "part of the public administration in Germany"? Who are the shareholders of the Bundesbank? The government, to 100%? If not, what percentage owns every shareholder? How are shares exchanged?
    – blueFast
    Dec 29 '13 at 15:54
  • It is part of the Nation's official organs, and afaik 100% owned by the Nation.
    – Murch
    Dec 29 '13 at 17:25

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.