Key Insights

  • Significant control over Appen by individual investors implies that the general public has more power to influence management and governance-related decisions

  • A total of 15 investors have a majority stake in the company with 50% ownership

  • Institutions own 46% of Appen

Every investor in Appen Limited (ASX:APX) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. And the group that holds the biggest piece of the pie are individual investors with 46% ownership. Put another way, the group faces the maximum upside potential (or downside risk).

Institutions, on the other hand, account for 46% of the company’s stockholders. Insiders often own a large chunk of younger, smaller, companies while huge companies tend to have institutions as shareholders.

Let’s delve deeper into each type of owner of Appen, beginning with the chart below.

Check out our latest analysis for Appen

ownership-breakdown

ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Appen?

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.

As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Appen. 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 Appen’s earnings history below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

earnings-and-revenue-growth

earnings-and-revenue-growth

Hedge funds don’t have many shares in Appen. JPMorgan Chase & Co, Brokerage and Securities Investments is currently the company’s largest shareholder with 7.2% of shares outstanding. State Street Global Advisors, Inc. is the second largest shareholder owning 6.9% of common stock, and Spheria Asset Management Pty Ltd holds about 6.2% of the company stock.

Looking at the shareholder registry, we can see that 50% of the ownership is controlled by the top 15 shareholders, meaning that no single shareholder has a majority interest in the ownership.

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. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of Appen

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.

We can report that insiders do own shares in Appen Limited. It has a market capitalization of just AU$207m, and insiders have AU$15m worth of shares, in their own names. Some would say this shows alignment of interests between shareholders and the board, though we generally prefer to see bigger insider holdings. But it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public– including retail investors — own 46% stake in the company, and hence can’t easily be ignored. 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.

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 risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we’ve spotted 2 warning signs for Appen you should know about.

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. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.