What Kind Of Investor Owns Most Of Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 10, 2020
ASX:WBC
Source: Shutterstock

The big shareholder groups in Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) have power over the company. Large companies usually have institutions as shareholders, and we usually see insiders owning shares in smaller companies. Companies that have been privatized tend to have low insider ownership.

Westpac Banking has a market capitalization of AU$89b, so it's too big to fly under the radar. We'd expect to see both institutions and retail investors owning a portion of the company. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it's seems that institutions own shares in the company. Let's delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about Westpac Banking.

See our latest analysis for Westpac Banking

ASX:WBC Ownership Summary, January 10th 2020
ASX:WBC Ownership Summary, January 10th 2020

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Westpac Banking?

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.

Westpac Banking already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own 19% of the company. 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. If multiple institutions change their view on a stock at the same time, you could see the share price drop fast. It's therefore worth looking at Westpac Banking's earnings history, below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

ASX:WBC Income Statement, January 10th 2020
ASX:WBC Income Statement, January 10th 2020

Westpac Banking is not owned by hedge funds. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is The Vanguard Group, Inc. with 5.1% of shares outstanding. Next, we have Norges Bank Investment Management and Geode Capital Management, LLC as the second and third largest shareholders, holding 1.1% and 0.4%, of the shares outstanding, respectively.

A deeper look at our ownership data shows that the top 5 shareholders collectively hold less than 50% of the register, suggesting a large group of small holders where no one share holder has a majority.

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 plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of Westpac Banking

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. 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.

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.

Our data suggests that insiders own under 1% of Westpac Banking Corporation in their own names. Being so large, we would not expect insiders to own a large proportion of the stock. Collectively, they own AU$30m of stock. It is good to see board members owning shares, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.

General Public Ownership

The general public, mostly retail investors, hold a substantial 81% stake in WBC, suggesting it is a fairly popular stock. This level of ownership gives retail investors the power to sway key policy decisions such as board composition, executive compensation, and the dividend payout ratio.

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.

For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Westpac Banking which any shareholder or potential investor should be aware of.

If you would prefer discover what analysts are predicting in terms of future growth, do not miss this free report on analyst forecasts.

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.

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