Do Directors Own Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKG:388) Shares?

If you want to know who really controls Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKG:388), 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. We also tend to see lower insider ownership in companies that were previously publicly owned.

With a market capitalization of HK$281b, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing is rather large. We’d expect to see institutional investors on the register. Companies of this size are usually well known to retail investors, too. Taking a look at the 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 388.

View our latest analysis for Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing

SEHK:388 Ownership Summary November 16th 18
SEHK:388 Ownership Summary November 16th 18

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing?

Institutions typically measure themselves against a benchmark when reporting to their own investors, so they often become more enthusiastic about a stock once it’s included in a major index. We would expect most companies to have some institutions on the register, especially if they are growing.

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own 17% 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. 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 Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing’s historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there’s always more to the story.

SEHK:388 Income Statement Export November 16th 18
SEHK:388 Income Statement Export November 16th 18

We note that hedge funds don’t have a meaningful investment in Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing

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.

Our data suggests that insiders own under 1% of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited in their own names. As it is a large company, we’d only expect insiders to own a small percentage of it. But it’s worth noting that they own HK$281m worth of shares. 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 78% stake in 388, 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:

It’s always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing better, we need to consider many other factors.

I like to dive deeper into how a company has performed in the past. You can find historic revenue and earnings in this detailed graph.

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.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.