Do Insiders Own Lots Of Shares In Zip Co Limited (ASX:Z1P)?

Every investor in Zip Co Limited (ASX:Z1P) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. 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.

Zip Co has a market capitalization of AU$1.4b, so we would expect some institutional investors to have noticed the stock. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutions own shares in the company. Let’s take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholder can tell us about Zip Co.

See our latest analysis for Zip Co

ASX:Z1P Ownership Summary, January 16th 2020
ASX:Z1P Ownership Summary, January 16th 2020

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Zip Co?

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.

As you can see, institutional investors own 24% of Zip Co. This suggests some credibility amongst professional investors. But we can’t rely on that fact alone, since institutions make bad investments sometimes, just like everyone does. 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 Zip Co’s historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there’s always more to the story.

ASX:Z1P Income Statement, January 16th 2020
ASX:Z1P Income Statement, January 16th 2020

Zip Co is not owned by hedge funds. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is the CEO Larry Diamond with 16% of shares outstanding. Westpac Banking Corporation, Asset Management Arm is the second largest shareholder with 14% of common stock, followed by Peter Gray, holding 5.0% of the stock. Interestingly, Peter Gray is also a Member of the Board of Directors, again, indicating strong insider ownership amongst the company’s top shareholders.

Our studies suggest that the top 15 shareholders collectively control less than 50% of the company’s shares, meaning that the company’s shares are widely disseminated and there is no dominant shareholder.

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 Zip Co

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.

It seems insiders own a significant proportion of Zip Co Limited. Insiders own AU$333m worth of shares in the AU$1.4b company. I would say this shows alignment with shareholders, but it is worth noting that the company is still quite small; some insiders may have founded the business. You can click here to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public, with a 50% stake in the company, will not easily be ignored. 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:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We’ve identified 2 warning signs with Zip Co , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.