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Institutions own 49% of ASX Limited (ASX:ASX) shares but retail investors control 50% of the company

Key Insights

  • The considerable ownership by retail investors in ASX indicates that they collectively have a greater say in management and business strategy

  • 46% of the business is held by the top 25 shareholders

  • Insiders have bought recently

To get a sense of who is truly in control of ASX Limited (ASX:ASX), it is important to understand the ownership structure of the business. The group holding the most number of shares in the company, around 50% to be precise, is retail investors. In other words, the group stands to gain the most (or lose the most) from their investment into the company.

Institutions, on the other hand, account for 49% of the company's stockholders. Large companies usually have institutions as shareholders, and we usually see insiders owning shares in smaller companies.

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

Check out our latest analysis for ASX

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About ASX?

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.

As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in ASX. 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. If multiple institutions change their view on a stock at the same time, you could see the share price drop fast. It's therefore worth looking at ASX's earnings history below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

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

Hedge funds don't have many shares in ASX. UniSuper Limited is currently the largest shareholder, with 14% of shares outstanding. The second and third largest shareholders are BlackRock, Inc. and AustralianSuper Pty. Ltd., with an equal amount of shares to their name at 6.1%.

On studying our ownership data, we found that 25 of the top shareholders collectively own less than 50% of the share register, implying that no single individual has a majority interest.

While it makes sense to study institutional ownership data for a company, it also makes sense to study analyst sentiments to know which way the wind is blowing. 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 ASX

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.

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 information suggests that ASX Limited 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 AU$64m worth of shares. Arguably recent buying and selling is just as important to consider. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public, who are usually individual investors, hold a substantial 50% stake in ASX, suggesting it is a fairly popular stock. This size of ownership gives investors from the general public some collective power. They can and probably do influence decisions on executive compensation, dividend policies and proposed business acquisitions.

Next Steps:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand ASX better, we need to consider many other factors. For example, we've discovered 2 warning signs for ASX that you should be aware of before investing here.

But ultimately it is the future, not the past, that will determine how well the owners of this business will do. Therefore we think it advisable to take a look at this free report showing whether analysts are predicting a brighter 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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