How Many Surface Oncology, Inc. (NASDAQ:SURF) Shares Do Institutions Own?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
February 19, 2019
NasdaqGM:SURF

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A look at the shareholders of Surface Oncology, Inc. (NASDAQ:SURF) can tell us which group is most powerful. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. Companies that used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.

Surface Oncology is a smaller company with a market capitalization of US$150m, so it may still be flying under the radar of many institutional investors. 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 SURF.

View our latest analysis for Surface Oncology

NasdaqGM:SURF Ownership Summary, February 19th 2019
NasdaqGM:SURF Ownership Summary, February 19th 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Surface Oncology?

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.

Surface Oncology already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own 23% of the company. This can indicate that the company has a certain degree of credibility in the investment community. However, it is best to be wary of relying on the supposed validation that comes with institutional investors. They too, get it wrong sometimes. 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 Surface Oncology's earnings history, below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

NasdaqGM:SURF Income Statement, February 19th 2019
NasdaqGM:SURF Income Statement, February 19th 2019

It looks like hedge funds own 8.2% of Surface Oncology shares. That catches my attention because hedge funds sometimes try to influence management, or bring about changes that will create near term value for shareholders. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of Surface Oncology

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. 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.

We can see that insiders own shares in Surface Oncology, Inc.. In their own names, insiders own US$1.5m worth of stock in the US$150m company. It is good to see some investment by insiders, but I usually like to see higher insider holdings. It might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.

General Public Ownership

With a 10% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over SURF. 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 an ownership of 41%, private equity firms are in a position to play a role in shaping corporate strategy with a focus on value creation. Some might like this, because private equity are sometimes activists who hold management accountable. But other times, private equity is selling out, having taking the company public.

Public Company Ownership

Public companies currently own 14% of SURF stock. This may be a strategic interest and the two companies may have related business interests. It could be that they have de-merged. This holding is probably worth investigating further.

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 find historic revenue and earnings in this detailed graph.

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. On rare occasion, data errors may occur. Thank you for reading.

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