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individual investors who own 56% along with institutions invested in South32 Limited (ASX:S32) saw increase in their holdings value last week

Every investor in South32 Limited (ASX:S32) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. And the group that holds the biggest piece of the pie are individual investors with 56% ownership. In other words, the group stands to gain the most (or lose the most) from their investment into the company.

Following a 13% increase in the stock price last week, individual investors profited the most, but institutions who own 40% stock also stood to gain from the increase.

Let's delve deeper into each type of owner of South32, beginning with the chart below.

See our latest analysis for South32

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About South32?

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.

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We can see that South32 does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company's stock. 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 South32, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

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

Hedge funds don't have many shares in South32. BlackRock, Inc. is currently the largest shareholder, with 7.1% of shares outstanding. In comparison, the second and third largest shareholders hold about 5.3% and 5.2% of the stock.

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 South32

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. 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.

Most consider insider ownership a positive because it can indicate the board is well aligned with other shareholders. However, on some occasions too much power is concentrated within this group.

Our information suggests that South32 Limited insiders own under 1% of the company. Being so large, we would not expect insiders to own a large proportion of the stock. Collectively, they own AU$42m of stock. 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 56% of South32. With this amount of ownership, retail investors can collectively play a role in decisions that affect shareholder returns, such as dividend policies and the appointment of directors. They can also exercise the power to vote on acquisitions or mergers that may not improve profitability.

Next Steps:

I find it very interesting to look at who exactly owns a company. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for South32 (of which 1 is significant!) you should know about.

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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