To get a sense of who is truly in control of Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC), it is important to understand the ownership structure of the business. With 57% stake, institutions possess the maximum shares in the company. In other words, the group stands to gain the most (or lose the most) from their investment into the company.
As a result, institutional investors endured the highest losses last week after market cap fell by US$12b. This set of investors may especially be concerned about the current loss, which adds to a one-year loss of 28% for shareholders. Also referred to as "smart money", institutions have a lot of sway over how a stock's price moves. Hence, if weakness in Bank of America's share price continues, institutional investors may feel compelled to sell the stock, which might not be ideal for individual investors.
Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Bank of America.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Bank of America?
Institutional investors commonly compare their own returns to the returns of a commonly followed index. So they generally do consider buying larger companies that are included in the relevant benchmark index.
As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Bank of America. This implies the analysts working for those institutions have looked at the stock and they like it. But just like anyone else, they could be wrong. It is not uncommon to see a big share price drop if two large institutional investors try to sell out of a stock at the same time. So it is worth checking the past earnings trajectory of Bank of America, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.
Institutional investors own over 50% of the company, so together than can probably strongly influence board decisions. We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Bank of America. The company's largest shareholder is Berkshire Hathaway Inc., with ownership of 13%. With 7.5% and 6.1% of the shares outstanding respectively, The Vanguard Group, Inc. and BlackRock, Inc. are the second and third largest shareholders.
Our studies suggest that the top 25 shareholders collectively control less than half of the company's shares, meaning that the company's shares are widely disseminated and there is no dominant shareholder.
While studying institutional ownership for a company can add value to your research, it is also a good practice to research analyst recommendations to get a deeper understand of a stock's expected performance. There are a reasonable number of analysts covering the stock, so it might be useful to find out their aggregate view on the future.
Insider Ownership Of Bank of America
While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. Management ultimately answers to the board. However, it is not uncommon for managers to be executive board members, especially if they are a founder or the CEO.
Insider ownership is positive when it signals leadership are thinking like the true owners of the company. However, high insider ownership can also give immense power to a small group within the company. This can be negative in some circumstances.
Our most recent data indicates that insiders own less than 1% of Bank of America Corporation. As it is a large company, we'd only expect insiders to own a small percentage of it. But it's worth noting that they own US$419m worth of shares. In this sort of situation, it can be more interesting to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.
General Public Ownership
The general public-- including retail investors -- own 30% stake in the company, and hence can't easily be ignored. While this size of ownership may not be enough to sway a policy decision in their favour, they can still make a collective impact on company policies.
Public Company Ownership
We can see that public companies hold 13% of the Bank of America shares on issue. We can't be certain but it is quite possible this is a strategic stake. The businesses may be similar, or work together.
While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. Take risks for example - Bank of America has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.
If you would prefer discover what analysts are predicting in terms of future growth, do not miss this free report on analyst forecasts.
NB: Figures in this article are calculated using data from the last twelve months, which refer to the 12-month period ending on the last date of the month the financial statement is dated. This may not be consistent with full year annual report figures.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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