About Us

This site is for investment professionals (especially asset owners or allocators) and others who are interested to explore the theory and practice of “universal ownership”, sometimes called “system level investing”.

It has been set up by Dr Raj Thamotheram with the support of the Regeneration Ecosystem – a project of the Regenerative Marketing Institute.

Strongly influenced by Robert Monks , Raj was an early advocate of universal owner theory whilst he was head of Responsible Investment at Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) in the early 2000’s. In this role, he led several collaborative engagement initiatives based on this approach. 

This site is designed to help individuals and organisations move into (more) effective action. This action is needed at 3 levels – what investment professionals do as individuals (with a particular focus on what executives do to set the tone from the top) AND what each asset owner does AND what asset owners do together. These strands are synergistic – real world progress depends on progress on all three fronts. 

It also seeks to help individuals who have questions about universal ownership, and to help universal owner advocates to answer these questions.

Before jumping into action, it’s worth understanding how change happens (and doesn’t). There’s a common misconception that new thinking leads to new action. This at best incomplete and one reason why organisational transformations often (up to 70%) fail. Drawing on the work of organisational psychologists (Chip & Dan Heath do a very stimulating and accessible synthesis in “Switch: how to change things when change is hard”) we need to we need to harness both the emotional side (the “Elephant”) of investment professionals and not just their rational side (the “Rider”). 

Of course the latter is important, but it’s not enough. The Rider provides the planning and direction, and the Elephant provides the energy to keep going. Specifically we need to Direct the Rider. What looks like “resistance” is often a lack of clarity. So providing really clear direction is important. But Motivating the Elephant is equally critical. What looks like “unmotivated” is either a failure to engage emotionally or conflicted motivation (eg the commonly used key performance indicators and incentives encourage anti-universal ownership thinking and behaviour).

We need to get the Rider and the Elephant co-operating for long enough for the desired change to bed down. But on top that we also need to Shape the Path. What looks like a “lack of interests on Monday morning” is often an ecosystem problem (the “Path”). Shaping the Path makes change more likely, regardless of how savvy the Rider and how energetic the Elephant are (or aren’t).


This site is a work in progress and feedback is most welcome. It depends on volunteers to maximise authenticity and minimise conflicts of interests. If you would like to help please contact info@universal-ownership.com indicating what you might be willing to do.


My first thanks go to Christian Sarkar for his warm and energetic support in getting this site up & running with minimal hassles, and very quickly!

I would also like to thank those who have contributed ideas and text to make this site as useful as possible. They include: Alex Barkawi; Abby Bloom; Bill Burckhart, Desiree Lucchese; Jon Lukomnik; Sara Murphy.