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With 77% institutional ownership, Accenture plc (NYSE:ACN) is a favorite amongst the big guns

Key Insights

  • Given the large stake in the stock by institutions, Accenture's stock price might be vulnerable to their trading decisions

  • The top 25 shareholders own 45% of the company

  • Using data from analyst forecasts alongside ownership research, one can better assess the future performance of a company

To get a sense of who is truly in control of Accenture plc (NYSE:ACN), it is important to understand the ownership structure of the business. We can see that institutions own the lion's share in the company with 77% ownership. In other words, the group stands to gain the most (or lose the most) from their investment into the company.

Because institutional owners have a huge pool of resources and liquidity, their investing decisions tend to carry a great deal of weight, especially with individual investors. Therefore, a good portion of institutional money invested in the company is usually a huge vote of confidence on its future.

Let's delve deeper into each type of owner of Accenture, beginning with the chart below.

View our latest analysis for Accenture

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Accenture?

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.

Accenture already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. This suggests some credibility amongst professional investors. But we can't rely on that fact alone since institutions make bad investments sometimes, just like everyone does. 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 Accenture, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. Accenture is not owned by hedge funds. The Vanguard Group, Inc. is currently the company's largest shareholder with 9.2% of shares outstanding. With 7.6% and 4.2% of the shares outstanding respectively, BlackRock, Inc. and State Street Global Advisors, Inc. are the second and third largest shareholders.

A deeper look at our ownership data shows that the top 25 shareholders collectively hold less than half of the register, suggesting a large group of small holders where no single shareholder has a majority.

Researching institutional ownership is a good way to gauge and filter a stock's expected performance. The same can be achieved by studying analyst sentiments. 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 Accenture

The definition of company insiders can be subjective and does vary between jurisdictions. Our data reflects individual insiders, capturing board members at the very least. 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 information suggests that Accenture plc insiders own under 1% of the company. 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$181m worth of shares. It is good to see board members owning shares, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.

General Public Ownership

With a 23% ownership, the general public, mostly comprising of individual investors, have some degree of sway over Accenture. 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.

Next Steps:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Accenture better, we need to consider many other factors.

Many find it useful to take an in depth look at how a company has performed in the past. You can access this detailed graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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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