How Many Royal Mail plc (LON:RMG) Shares Do Institutions Own?

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If you want to know who really controls Royal Mail plc (LON:RMG), then you’ll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. Institutions often own shares in more established companies, while it’s not unusual to see insiders own a fair bit of smaller companies. Companies that have been privatized tend to have low insider ownership.

Royal Mail has a market capitalization of UK£2.5b, 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 institutional investors have bought into the company. Let’s take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholder can tell us about RMG.

See our latest analysis for Royal Mail

LSE:RMG Ownership Summary, May 5th 2019
LSE:RMG Ownership Summary, May 5th 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Royal Mail?

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.

We can see that Royal Mail does have institutional investors; and they hold 63% of the stock. 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 Royal Mail’s earnings history, below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

LSE:RMG Income Statement, May 5th 2019
LSE:RMG Income Statement, May 5th 2019

Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. We note that hedge funds don’t have a meaningful investment in Royal Mail. 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 Royal Mail

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.

Most consider insider ownership a positive because it can indicate the board is well aligned with other shareholders. However, on some occasions too much power is concentrated within this group.

Our information suggests that Royal Mail plc insiders own under 1% of the company. It is a pretty big company, so it would be possible for board members to own a meaningful interest in the company, without owning much of a proportional interest. In this case, they own around UK£2.0m worth of shares (at current prices). It is good to see board members owning shares, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.

General Public Ownership

With a 28% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over RMG. While this size of ownership may not be enough to sway a policy decision in their favour, they can still make a collective impact on company policies.

Next Steps:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important.

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 .

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.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.