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After a year of 1.6% returns, Hiscox Ltd's (LON:HSX) share price drop last week may have less of an impact on institutional investors

Key Insights

  • Institutions' substantial holdings in Hiscox implies that they have significant influence over the company's share price

  • The top 9 shareholders own 51% of the company

  • Insiders have been selling lately

Every investor in Hiscox Ltd (LON:HSX) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. The group holding the most number of shares in the company, around 74% to be precise, is institutions. Put another way, the group faces the maximum upside potential (or downside risk).

Institutional investors endured the highest losses after the company's market cap fell by UK£278m last week. However, the 1.6% one-year returns may have helped alleviate their overall losses. We would assume however, that they would be on the lookout for weakness in the future.

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In the chart below, we zoom in on the different ownership groups of Hiscox.

View our latest analysis for Hiscox

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Hiscox?

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.

Hiscox already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. 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. 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 Hiscox's earnings history below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. Hiscox is not owned by hedge funds. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is Fidelity International Ltd with 9.6% of shares outstanding. Capital Research and Management Company is the second largest shareholder owning 7.5% of common stock, and FMR LLC holds about 7.0% of the company stock.

We did some more digging and found that 9 of the top shareholders account for roughly 51% of the register, implying that along with larger shareholders, there are a few smaller shareholders, thereby balancing out each others interests somewhat.

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 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 Hiscox

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.

Our most recent data indicates that insiders own less than 1% of Hiscox Ltd. It's a big company, so even a small proportional interest can create alignment between the board and shareholders. In this case insiders own UK£20m worth of shares. It is always good to see at least some insider ownership, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public-- including retail investors -- own 26% stake in the company, and hence can't easily be ignored. While this group can't necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.

Next Steps:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. Be aware that Hiscox is showing 4 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 2 of those shouldn't be ignored...

If you would prefer discover what analysts are predicting in terms of future growth, do not miss this free report on analyst forecasts.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.