A look at the shareholders of Freelancer Limited (ASX:FLN) can tell us which group is most powerful. Large companies usually have institutions as shareholders, and we usually see insiders owning shares in smaller companies. Warren Buffett said that he likes "a business with enduring competitive advantages that is run by able and owner-oriented people." So it's nice to see some insider ownership, because it may suggest that management is owner-oriented.
With a market capitalization of AU$326m, Freelancer is a small cap stock, so it might not be well known by many institutional investors. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it seems that institutions don't own many shares in the company. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Freelancer.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Freelancer?
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.
Since institutions own only a small portion of Freelancer, many may not have spent much time considering the stock. But it's clear that some have; and they liked it enough to buy in. So if the company itself can improve over time, we may well see more institutional buyers in the future. It is not uncommon to see a big share price rise if multiple institutional investors are trying to buy into a stock at the same time. So check out the historic earnings trajectory, below, but keep in mind it's the future that counts most.
Freelancer is not owned by hedge funds. The company's CEO Robert Barrie is the largest shareholder with 44% of shares outstanding. In comparison, the second and third largest shareholders hold about 35% and 2.3% of the stock. Interestingly, the third-largest shareholder, Darren Nicholas Williams is also a Member of the Board of Directors, again, indicating strong insider ownership amongst the company's top shareholders.
After doing some more digging, we found that the top 2 shareholders collectively control more than half of the company's shares, implying that they have considerable power to influence the company's decisions.
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. Our information suggests that there isn't any analyst coverage of the stock, so it is probably little known.
Insider Ownership Of Freelancer
The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. 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.
It seems that insiders own more than half the Freelancer Limited stock. This gives them a lot of power. Given it has a market cap of AU$326m, that means they have AU$270m worth of shares. Most would argue this is a positive, showing strong alignment with shareholders. You can click here to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.
General Public Ownership
The general public, with a 16% stake in the company, will not 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.
While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for Freelancer you should know about.
Of course this may not be the best stock to buy. Therefore, you may wish to see our free collection of interesting prospects boasting favorable financials.
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.
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.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.