A look at the shareholders of The Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE:WMB) can tell us which group is most powerful. We can see that institutions own the lion's share in the company with 88% ownership. That is, the group stands to benefit the most if the stock rises (or lose the most if there is a downturn).
Since institutional have access to huge amounts of capital, their market moves tend to receive a lot of scrutiny by retail or individual investors. Hence, having a considerable amount of institutional money invested in a company is often regarded as a desirable trait.
Let's delve deeper into each type of owner of Williams Companies, beginning with the chart below.
Many institutions measure their performance against an index that approximates the local market. So they usually pay more attention to companies that are included in major indices.
Williams Companies already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. This can indicate that the company has a certain degree of credibility in the investment community. However, it is best to be wary of relying on the supposed validation that comes with institutional investors. They too, get it wrong sometimes. When multiple institutions own a stock, there's always a risk that they are in a 'crowded trade'. When such a trade goes wrong, multiple parties may compete to sell stock fast. This risk is higher in a company without a history of growth. You can see Williams Companies' historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.
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 Williams Companies. The company's largest shareholder is The Vanguard Group, Inc., with ownership of 11%. BlackRock, Inc. is the second largest shareholder owning 9.7% of common stock, and State Street Global Advisors, Inc. holds about 6.8% of the company stock.
A closer look at our ownership figures suggests that the top 19 shareholders have a combined ownership of 50% implying that no single shareholder has a majority.
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 plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.
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.
I generally consider insider ownership to be a good thing. However, on some occasions it makes it more difficult for other shareholders to hold the board accountable for decisions.
Our data suggests that insiders own under 1% of The Williams Companies, Inc. in their own names. It is a very large company, so it would be surprising to see insiders own a large proportion of the company. Though their holding amounts to less than 1%, we can see that board members collectively own US$157m worth of shares (at current prices). It is good to see board members owning shares, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.
With a 11% ownership, the general public, mostly comprising of individual investors, have some degree of sway over Williams Companies. 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.
It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Williams Companies better, we need to consider many other factors. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for Williams Companies you should be aware of, and 1 of them doesn't sit too well with us.
Ultimately the future is most important. You can access this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.
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.