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Community Bank System, Inc.'s (NYSE:CBU) recent 3.5% pullback adds to one-year year losses, institutional owners may take drastic measures

Key Insights

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

  • A total of 9 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 Community Bank System, Inc. (NYSE:CBU), it is important to understand the ownership structure of the business. The group holding the most number of shares in the company, around 73% to be precise, is institutions. In other words, the group stands to gain the most (or lose the most) from their investment into the company.

And so it follows that institutional investors was the group most impacted after the company's market cap fell to US$2.6b last week after a 3.5% drop in the share price. This set of investors may especially be concerned about the current loss, which adds to a one-year loss of 29% for shareholders. Often called “market makers”, institutions wield significant power in influencing the price dynamics of any stock. As a result, if the downtrend continues, institutions may face pressures to sell Community Bank System, which might have negative implications on individual investors.

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Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Community Bank System.

View our latest analysis for Community Bank System

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Community Bank System?

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.

We can see that Community Bank System 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. 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 Community Bank System'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

Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Community Bank System. Our data shows that BlackRock, Inc. is the largest shareholder with 15% of shares outstanding. The Vanguard Group, Inc. is the second largest shareholder owning 12% of common stock, and State Street Global Advisors, Inc. holds about 9.7% of the company stock.

On further inspection, we found that more than half the company's shares are owned by the top 9 shareholders, suggesting that the interests of the larger shareholders are balanced out to an extent by the smaller ones.

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 Community Bank System

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.

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.

We can see that insiders own shares in Community Bank System, Inc.. This is a big company, so it is good to see this level of alignment. Insiders own US$33m worth of shares (at current prices). If you would like to explore the question of insider alignment, 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 26% stake in Community Bank System. This size of ownership, while considerable, may not be enough to change company policy if the decision is not in sync with other large shareholders.

Next Steps:

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

I like to dive deeper into how a company has performed in the past. You can access this interactive graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow, for free.

Ultimately the future is most important. You can access this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

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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