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What people do not realise, according to the authors of a new book, is that these institutions are simply holding the assets on behalf of ordinary savers - so millions of people hold tiny stakes in companies through their pension funds and endowment plans.

In The New Capitalists, to be published this week, activist fund manager David Pitt-Watson and his co-authors argue that if people were to use their ownership power, it could create a new 'civil economy', to bridge the divides between workers, company boards and shareholders.

'It's a realisation by everybody that they're not just citizens and workers, but they're shareholders: they're capitalists as well,' says Pitt-Watson, for many years managing director of Hermes, which runs a number of large pension funds, including BT's.

1/ What are the meaning of endowment plans, activist, company boards and BT's here?

2/ Is activist an adjective or a noun?

3/ What is the meaning of people were to use here? Could you explian me the structure of be+to-infinitive here?

Quoc
Comments  
1) British Telecommunications



financial endowment
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_endowment

endowments created and funded by Life Insurance
http://www.tcsf.info/lifeinsurance.htm

2)
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activist


Function: adjective
: of or belonging to or having the characteristics of activism or activists : advocating or practicing activism

(30 Oct. 2006).
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3) This is a conditional.
What is the meaning of people were to use here? Could you explian me the structure of be+to-infinitive here?
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Tung QuocWhat is the meaning of people were to use here? Could you explian me the structure of be+to-infinitive here?
Click on the buttons Conditionals under your original posting. Also, study your books.
http://www.englishpage.com/conditional/conditionalintro.html
http://www.englishpage.com/conditional/presentconditional.html#presentunreal

In short:
if people were to use=
if people would use
I am not entirely sure what an endowment plan is, but I suspect it is a way to save (or maybe make) money offered by the company you work for. I think you are supposed to give the company some money and the company manages it for you. When you leave the company, you take the money, but I don't think you get it all back, espically if you leave too early. I think it may be similar to buying stock in your company. Of course, I could be wrong. Someone who understands finance needs to explain this, to me as well as you!

edit: Marius Hancu, I could not follow the last few links you posted. You edited it while I was composing my answer!
It's this site who messes up links sometimes, not me.

I made the links passive, you can't click on them, but you can cut and paste them in your browser now.
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Marius HancuIt's this site who messes up links sometimes, not me.

I made the links passive, you can't click on them, but you can cut and paste them in your browser now.
Okay. Thanks