The jury is out on the next course of action for the world's retail investors. Some suggest that they will sell up and move their hard earned cash out of equities, others argue they will channel their substantial anger into challenging boards, making for an extremely eventful 2009 proxy season.
In the UK, the UK Shareholders Association is taking on the government for what it sees as unduly painful conditions of the banking bailout. The abolition of dividends to conventional shareholders at the request of the government has sent small shareholders hopping mad. In China, emotions have been similarly fraught due to the huge number of ordinary Chinese people who chucked their money into local companies in the mistaken belief that there was only one way the valuations could go: up. It will probably be a long while before small investors so readily entrust their money in the whim of the markets.