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What is a parent company and how does it work?

A parent company is a company that owns another company. Parent companies can be in charge of the day-to-day operations of their subsidiaries, or they can simply provide financial and managerial support. In most cases, parent companies are larger than their subsidiaries and have a more significant role in the overall operation of the business.

How do parent companies work?

A parent company is a single company that has a controlling interest in another company/companies. Parent companies are formed when they spin off or carve out subsidiaries, or through an acquisition or merger.

Parent companies often have controlling stakes in their subsidiaries, which gives them the power to make decisions about the child company’s operations. Parent companies may also provide financial support to their subsidiaries. Parent companies usually have greater resources than their subsidiaries, which allows them to take on more risk. Subsidiaries are often less risky investments than other types of investments because they are backed by the parent company.

Ownership structure – majority and minority

A parent company typically has two types of ownership: majority and minority. Majority ownership means that the parent company owns more than 50% of the child company. This gives the parent company control over the child company. Minority ownership means that the parent company owns less than 50% of the child company. This does not give the parent company control over the child company.

Why become a parent company?

There are many benefits to becoming a parent company. For one, it can help businesses stay competitive and relevant in an ever-changing marketplace. By sharing their knowledge and providing support to smaller businesses, experienced industry leaders can build stronger partnerships with their peers and maintain a leadership role in the industry.

In addition, parent companies often stand to gain a great deal from collaborating with other businesses – whether by launching joint ventures or developing new products together – giving them access to valuable assets, market insights, and customer bases that they might otherwise have struggled to reach on their own.

Parent company hierarchy

Parent company hierarchy refers to the ownership structure of a company. The parent company is at the highest level in the hierarchy, followed by the child company companies. The subsidiaries are then organized into divisions, with each division having its own unique products or services. The parent company owns equity in the child company companies and has voting rights within the child company companies. 

The parent company also has the authority to appoint board members and senior executives of the child company companies.

The hierarchy is important because it allows the parent company to control the child company companies and ensure that they are operated in a manner that is consistent with the parent company’s goals and objectives. Parent company hierarchy also allows the parent company to protect its investment in child company companies.

The relationship between a parent company and its child company can be complicated. In some cases, the parent company may be completely responsible for the actions of the child company. This is known as “piercing the corporate veil.” Piercing the corporate veil is when a court holds a parent company liable for the actions of its child company. This usually happens when the child company is not a separate legal entity from the parent company, or when the parent company has not followed the correct procedures for setting up the child company.

Example of a parent company

One example of a parent company is General Electric, which has holdings in many different industries, including energy, appliances, and healthcare. By controlling these various subsidiaries, General Electric is able to maintain a high level of control over its operations and strategic direction.

Other major examples of parent companies include Boeing, Apple, and Amazon. Such companies are often referred to as ‘conglomerate firms’ due to their diverse product offerings and global reach.

While having a parent company can offer many benefits in terms of resources and opportunities, it also comes with certain risks. For example, the parent company may have conflicting priorities that are not aligned with those of its child company businesses. Overall, the role of the parent company is an important one within today’s highly competitive global economy.

LEI parent companies

The Legal Entity Identifier initiative was created after the 2008 global financial crisis, with hopes to avoid any future global economic shocks of that severity. In order to create more transparency within the Global Financial Markets, the LEI code is now essential for legal entities that operate within today’s financial system.

A company’s LEI record will contain public information, that is accessible through a global database. This record will also include “Who owns who” (defined as parental (Level 2) data). The Regulatory Oversight Committee (ROC) has defined it as follows –  entities that are renewing or acquiring an LEI will now need to report their ‘ultimate accounting consolidating parent’, defined as the highest level legal entity preparing consolidated financial statements, as well as their ‘direct accounting consolidating parent’. In both of these cases, the identification of the parent would be based on the accounting definition of consolidation applying to this parent.

Consolidation adds together the assets, liabilities, and results of the parent and all of its subsidiaries

The collected information is published in the Global LEI System and therefore freely available to public authorities and market participants. At this stage, the Global LEI System will only record relationship data that can be made public, in accordance with the applicable legal framework.

Still unsure whether and how you need to report your parent company?

If you still have questions on whether you’re obligated to report the parent entities or are uncertain about your ultimate accounting consolidation parent, feel free to reach out to our customer support.

LEI Register has active 7 days a week customer support in a local language in more than 35 countries.