Here's What MFA Financial, Inc.'s (NYSE:MFA) Shareholder Ownership Structure Looks Like

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 01, 2021

A look at the shareholders of MFA Financial, Inc. (NYSE:MFA) can tell us which group is most powerful. Large companies usually have institutions as shareholders, and we usually see insiders owning shares in smaller companies. We also tend to see lower insider ownership in companies that were previously publicly owned.

With a market capitalization of US$1.8b, MFA Financial is a decent size, so it is probably on the radar of institutional investors. In the chart below, we can see that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. Let's delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about MFA Financial.

Check out our latest analysis for MFA Financial

NYSE:MFA Ownership Breakdown January 1st 2021

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About MFA Financial?

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 have a fair amount of stake in MFA Financial. 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. 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 MFA Financial's historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

NYSE:MFA Earnings and Revenue Growth January 1st 2021

Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. MFA Financial is not owned by hedge funds. BlackRock, Inc. is currently the largest shareholder, with 10% of shares outstanding. The Vanguard Group, Inc. is the second largest shareholder owning 9.5% of common stock, and Starwood Capital Operations, LLC holds about 8.4% of the company stock.

A closer look at our ownership figures suggests that the top 15 shareholders have a combined ownership of 50% implying that no single shareholder 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. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of MFA Financial

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. 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.

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 MFA Financial, Inc. in their own names. Keep in mind that it's a big company, and the insiders own US$14m worth of shares. The absolute value might be more important than the proportional share. 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 holds a 38% stake in MFA Financial. 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.

Private Equity Ownership

With a stake of 8.4%, private equity firms could influence the MFA Financial board. Sometimes we see private equity stick around for the long term, but generally speaking they have a shorter investment horizon and -- as the name suggests -- don't invest in public companies much. After some time they may look to sell and redeploy capital elsewhere.

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. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 4 warning signs with MFA Financial (at least 2 which are significant) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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.

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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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