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With 57% ownership of the shares, Hargreaves Lansdown plc (LON:HL.) is heavily dominated by institutional owners

Key Insights

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

  • A total of 7 investors have a majority stake in the company with 51% ownership

  • Recent purchases by insiders

To get a sense of who is truly in control of Hargreaves Lansdown plc ( LON:HL. ), it is important to understand the ownership structure of the business. With 57% stake, institutions possess the maximum shares in the company. That is, the group stands to benefit the most if the stock rises (or lose the most if there is a downturn).

Given the vast amount of money and research capacities at their disposal, institutional ownership tends to carry a lot of weight, especially with individual investors. As a result, a sizeable amount of institutional money invested in a firm is generally viewed as a positive attribute.

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In the chart below, we zoom in on the different ownership groups of Hargreaves Lansdown.

Check out our latest analysis for Hargreaves Lansdown

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Hargreaves Lansdown?

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 Hargreaves Lansdown. 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 Hargreaves Lansdown, (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. Hargreaves Lansdown is not owned by hedge funds. Our data suggests that Peter Hargreaves, who is the company's co-founder, holds the most number of shares at 20%. When an insider holds a sizeable amount of a company's stock, investors consider it as a positive sign because it suggests that insiders are willing to have their wealth tied up in the future of the company. For context, the second largest shareholder holds about 12% of the shares outstanding, followed by an ownership of 5.7% by the third-largest shareholder.

We did some more digging and found that 7 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.

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. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of Hargreaves Lansdown

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.

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 most recent data indicates that insiders own a reasonable proportion of Hargreaves Lansdown plc. Insiders own UK£876m worth of shares in the UK£3.4b company. That's quite meaningful. 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, who are usually individual investors, hold a 18% stake in Hargreaves Lansdown. While this group can't necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.

Next Steps:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Hargreaves Lansdown better, we need to consider many other factors. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Hargreaves Lansdown you should be aware of.

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.