Are Institutions Heavily Invested In DocuSign, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:DOCU) Shares?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
October 30, 2020
NasdaqGS:DOCU

The big shareholder groups in DocuSign, Inc. (NASDAQ:DOCU) have power over the company. Institutions will often hold stock in bigger companies, and we expect to see insiders owning a noticeable percentage of the smaller ones. Companies that used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.

DocuSign has a market capitalization of US$40b, 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 institutional investors have bought into the company. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about DocuSign.

Check out our latest analysis for DocuSign

ownership-breakdown
NasdaqGS:DOCU Ownership Breakdown October 30th 2020

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About DocuSign?

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 DocuSign 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 DocuSign's historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

earnings-and-revenue-growth
NasdaqGS:DOCU Earnings and Revenue Growth October 30th 2020

Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. Hedge funds don't have many shares in DocuSign. Our data shows that The Vanguard Group, Inc. is the largest shareholder with 8.6% of shares outstanding. Meanwhile, the second and third largest shareholders, hold 7.9% and 5.4%, of the shares outstanding, respectively. Furthermore, CEO Daniel Springer is the owner of 0.9% of the company's shares.

A deeper look at our ownership data shows that the top 25 shareholders collectively hold less than half of the register, suggesting a large group of small holders where no single shareholder has a majority.

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 DocuSign

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.

Most consider insider ownership a positive because it can indicate the board is well aligned with other shareholders. However, on some occasions too much power is concentrated within this group.

Shareholders would probably be interested to learn that insiders own shares in DocuSign, Inc.. It is a very large company, and board members collectively own US$756m worth of shares (at current prices). Most would say this shows a good alignment of interests between shareholders and the board. Still, it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.

General Public Ownership

With a 21% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over DocuSign. 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. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 4 warning signs for DocuSign you should know about.

Ultimately the future is most important. You can access this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

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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