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Could The LawFinance Limited (ASX:LAW) Ownership Structure Tell Us Something Useful?

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·4 min read
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The big shareholder groups in LawFinance Limited (ASX:LAW) have power over the company. Insiders often own a large chunk of younger, smaller, companies while huge companies tend to have institutions as shareholders. I quite like to see at least a little bit of insider ownership. As Charlie Munger said 'Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome.

With a market capitalization of AU$4.0b, LawFinance is rather large. We'd expect to see institutional investors on the register. Companies of this size are usually well known to retail investors, too. In the chart below, we can see that institutions own shares in the company. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about LawFinance.

Check out our latest analysis for LawFinance

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About LawFinance?

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.

LawFinance already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. 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 LawFinance, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

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

We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in LawFinance. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is Pure Asset Management Pty. Ltd. with 13% of shares outstanding. In comparison, the second and third largest shareholders hold about 12% and 5.8% of the stock.

Our studies suggest that the top 25 shareholders collectively control less than half of the company's shares, meaning that the company's shares are widely disseminated and there is no dominant shareholder.

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. Our information suggests that there isn't any analyst coverage of the stock, so it is probably little known.

Insider Ownership Of LawFinance

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. 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 see that insiders own shares in LawFinance Limited. This is a big company, so it is good to see this level of alignment. Insiders own AU$275m worth of shares (at current prices). If you would like to explore the question of insider alignment, you can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public holds a substantial 51% stake in LawFinance, suggesting it is a fairly popular stock. With this amount of ownership, retail investors can collectively play a role in decisions that affect shareholder returns, such as dividend policies and the appointment of directors. They can also exercise the power to vote on acquisitions or mergers that may not improve profitability.

Next Steps:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand LawFinance better, we need to consider many other factors. Case in point: We've spotted 6 warning signs for LawFinance you should be aware of, and 5 of them shouldn't be ignored.

If you would prefer check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, backed by strong financial data.

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.

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.

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