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Institutional investors may adopt severe steps after BT Group plc's (LON:BT.A) latest 4.9% drop adds to a year losses

A look at the shareholders of BT Group plc (LON:BT.A) can tell us which group is most powerful. We can see that institutions own the lion's share in the company with 48% ownership. Put another way, the group faces the maximum upside potential (or downside risk).

And institutional investors endured the highest losses after the company's share price fell by 4.9% last week. The recent loss, which adds to a one-year loss of 25% for stockholders, may not sit well with this group of investors. Institutions or "liquidity providers" control large sums of money and therefore, these types of investors usually have a lot of influence over stock price movements. Hence, if weakness in BT Group's share price continues, institutional investors may feel compelled to sell the stock, which might not be ideal for individual investors.

In the chart below, we zoom in on the different ownership groups of BT Group.

Check out our latest analysis for BT Group

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About BT Group?

Institutions typically measure themselves against a benchmark when reporting to their own investors, so they often become more enthusiastic about a stock once it's included in a major index. We would expect most companies to have some institutions on the register, especially if they are growing.

BT Group already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. 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. 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 BT Group's historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

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

BT Group is not owned by hedge funds. Patrick Drahi is currently the company's largest shareholder with 18% of shares outstanding. For context, the second largest shareholder holds about 12% of the shares outstanding, followed by an ownership of 5.4% by the third-largest shareholder.

We did some more digging and found that 8 of the top shareholders account for roughly 51% of the register, implying that along with larger shareholders, there are a few smaller shareholders, thereby balancing out each others interests somewhat.

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.

Insider Ownership Of BT Group

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. The company management answer to the board and the latter should represent the interests of shareholders. Notably, sometimes top-level managers are on the board themselves.

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 insiders maintain a significant holding in BT Group plc. It has a market capitalization of just UK£12b, and insiders have UK£2.2b worth of shares in their own names. That's quite significant. Most would be pleased to see the board is investing alongside them. You may wish to access this free chart showing recent trading by insiders.

General Public Ownership

The general public-- including retail investors -- own 14% stake in the company, and hence can't easily be ignored. While this group can't necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.

Private Company Ownership

We can see that Private Companies own 5.9%, of the shares on issue. It might be worth looking deeper into this. If related parties, such as insiders, have an interest in one of these private companies, that should be disclosed in the annual report. Private companies may also have a strategic interest in the company.

Public Company Ownership

It appears to us that public companies own 12% of BT Group. This may be a strategic interest and the two companies may have related business interests. It could be that they have de-merged. This holding is probably worth investigating further.

Next Steps:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. For example, we've discovered 4 warning signs for BT Group (1 can't be ignored!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

If you are like me, you may want to think about whether this company will grow or shrink. Luckily, you can check this free report showing analyst forecasts for its future.

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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