What Kind Of Investor Owns Most Of Smith & Nephew plc (LON:SN.)?

The big shareholder groups in Smith & Nephew plc (LON:SN.) have power over the company. Insiders often own a large chunk of younger, smaller, companies while huge companies tend to have institutions as shareholders. We also tend to see lower insider ownership in companies that were previously publicly owned.

Smith & Nephew is a pretty big company. It has a market capitalization of UK£16b. Normally institutions would own a significant portion of a company this size. In the chart below, we can see that institutional investors have bought into the company. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about Smith & Nephew.

See our latest analysis for Smith & Nephew

LSE:SN. Ownership Summary, February 20th 2020
LSE:SN. Ownership Summary, February 20th 2020

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Smith & Nephew?

Institutional investors commonly compare their own returns to the returns of a commonly followed index. So they generally do consider buying larger companies that are included in the relevant benchmark index.

As you can see, institutional investors own 89% of Smith & Nephew. 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 Smith & Nephew, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

LSE:SN. Income Statement, February 20th 2020
LSE:SN. Income Statement, February 20th 2020

Institutional investors own over 50% of the company, so together than can probably strongly influence board decisions. Smith & Nephew is not owned by hedge funds. Our data shows that BlackRock, Inc. is the largest shareholder with 7.9% of shares outstanding. The second largest shareholder with 4.1%, is Wellington Management Group LLP, followed by The Vanguard Group, Inc., with an ownership of 3.6%.

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.

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. 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 Smith & Nephew

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.

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 data suggests that insiders own under 1% of Smith & Nephew plc in their own names. It is a very large company, so it would be surprising to see insiders own a large proportion of the company. Though their holding amounts to less than 1%, we can see that board members collectively own UK£6.9m worth of shares (at current prices). In this sort of situation, it can be more interesting to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

With a 10% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over SN.. 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:

I find it very interesting to look at who exactly owns a company. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Case in point: We’ve spotted 1 warning sign for Smith & Nephew you should be aware of.

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.

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.

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