Stock Analysis

What Kind Of Shareholders Own Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS)?

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NYSE:MS
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If you want to know who really controls Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. Large companies usually have institutions as shareholders, and we usually see insiders owning shares in smaller companies. Companies that used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.

Morgan Stanley has a market capitalization of US$135b, 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. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutions own shares in the company. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about Morgan Stanley.

See our latest analysis for Morgan Stanley

ownership-breakdown
NYSE:MS Ownership Breakdown February 11th 2021

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Morgan Stanley?

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 Morgan Stanley 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. It is not uncommon to see a big share price drop if two large institutional investors try to sell out of a stock at the same time. So it is worth checking the past earnings trajectory of Morgan Stanley, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

earnings-and-revenue-growth
NYSE:MS Earnings and Revenue Growth February 11th 2021

Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Morgan Stanley. Our data shows that Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. is the largest shareholder with 21% of shares outstanding. In comparison, the second and third largest shareholders hold about 6.1% and 6.0% of the stock.

We also observed that the top 10 shareholders account for more than half of the share register, with a few smaller shareholders to balance the interests of the larger ones to a certain extent.

While it makes sense to study institutional ownership data for a company, it also makes sense to study analyst sentiments to know which way the wind is blowing. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of Morgan Stanley

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 most recent data indicates that insiders own less than 1% of Morgan Stanley. 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 US$352m 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

With a 18% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over Morgan Stanley. 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.

Public Company Ownership

We can see that public companies hold 21% of the Morgan Stanley shares on issue. We can't be certain but it is quite possible this is a strategic stake. The businesses may be similar, or work together.

Next Steps:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Morgan Stanley better, we need to consider many other factors. Be aware that Morgan Stanley is showing 4 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those is a bit concerning...

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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