Stock Analysis

Could The Webster Financial Corporation (NYSE:WBS) Ownership Structure Tell Us Something Useful?

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NYSE:WBS
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The big shareholder groups in Webster Financial Corporation (NYSE:WBS) have power over the company. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. We also tend to see lower insider ownership in companies that were previously publicly owned.

Webster Financial has a market capitalization of US$5.0b, 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. In the chart below, we can see that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Webster Financial.

Check out our latest analysis for Webster Financial

ownership-breakdown
NYSE:WBS Ownership Breakdown March 2nd 2021

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Webster Financial?

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.

We can see that Webster Financial does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company's 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. 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 Webster Financial's historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

earnings-and-revenue-growth
NYSE:WBS Earnings and Revenue Growth March 2nd 2021

Institutional investors own over 50% of the company, so together than can probably strongly influence board decisions. Hedge funds don't have many shares in Webster Financial. The company's largest shareholder is T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., with ownership of 14%. In comparison, the second and third largest shareholders hold about 9.3% and 8.5% of the stock.

We did some more digging and found that 9 of the top shareholders account for roughly 51% of the register, implying that along with larger shareholders, there are a few smaller shareholders, thereby balancing out each others interests somewhat.

While studying institutional ownership for a company can add value to your research, it is also a good practice to research analyst recommendations to get a deeper understand of a stock's expected performance. 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 Webster Financial

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.

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.

We can see that insiders own shares in Webster Financial Corporation. The insiders have a meaningful stake worth US$59m. Most would see this as a real positive. Most would say this shows alignment of interests between shareholders and the board. Still, it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public, with a 12% stake in the company, will not easily be ignored. 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. For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for Webster Financial that you 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.

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