Who Owns Stocks in America

Updating Numbers and Reinforcing Key Points

Executive Summary

U.S. capital markets are where investors, small and large, put capital to work to drive innovation, economic growth and job creation. Our markets have long enabled businesses to grow, governments to invest in infrastructure and individuals to save for retirement and education. The U.S. equity markets are the largest in the world and continue to be among the deepest, most liquid and most efficient, representing 45.3% of the $112 trillion global equity market cap, or $50.8 trillion. This is 4.1x the next largest market, China. U.S. market share has averaged 36.3% over the last 10 years, troughing at 29.8% in 2010 and peaking in 2020.


In this note, we walk through retirement account and stock ownership trends. Before we do, it is important to remind readers that the diversity across types of investment products and investment focus of these products (region, asset class, style, etc.) is part of what helps the U.S. capital markets maintain a dominant global position. Investors need choice in investment products, based on different return profiles and investment objectives. They need diversity within product sets and across investment focus of these products. The diversity, depth and breadth of U.S. equities markets (all of U.S. capital markets really) provide this opportunity and enable individual investors to manage their retirement and other savings accounts in a manner that fits their investment objectives and needs. (Please see SIFMA Insights: Who Owns Stocks in America for more details on this.)

In this note, we update data points on stock ownership and reinforce key points, the main one being individual investors own stocks.

Key Takeaways

  • Private retirement accounts outweigh government funded, 65.2% of total retirement assets
  • Retirement accounts built with mutual funds and stocks (IRAs 43.7% MFs; DC plans MF 52.1%, equity 23.2%)
  • $21.3 trillion in mutual fund assets in 2019, 53% in equity funds
  • Individuals own stocks: Federal Reserve data shows 52.6% Americans own stocks, Gallup poll indicates 55%



Katie Kolchin, CFA
Director of Research
SIFMA Insights