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Do Directors Own Square, Inc. (NYSE:SQ) Shares?

Simply Wall St

The big shareholder groups in Square, Inc. (NYSE:SQ) have power over the company. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. I generally like to see some degree of insider ownership, even if only a little. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb said, 'Don’t tell me what you think, tell me what you have in your portfolio.

Square has a market capitalization of US$26b, 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. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it's seems that institutions own shares in the company. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholder can tell us about SQ.

View our latest analysis for Square

NYSE:SQ Ownership Summary, October 15th 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Square?

Institutional investors commonly compare their own returns to the returns of a commonly followed index. So they generally do consider buying larger companies that are included in the relevant benchmark index.

We can see that Square does have institutional investors; and they hold 62% of the 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. 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 Square's earnings history, below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

NYSE:SQ Income Statement, October 15th 2019

Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Square. 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 Square

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. 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 information suggests that insiders maintain a significant holding in Square, Inc.. Insiders own US$4.8b worth of shares in the US$26b company. That's quite meaningful. Most would say this shows a good degree of alignment with shareholders, especially in a company of this size. You can click here to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

With a 20% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over SQ. While this group can't necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.

Next Steps:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Square better, we need to consider many other factors.

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.

But ultimately it is the future, not the past, that will determine how well the owners of this business will do. Therefore we think it advisable to take a look at this free report showing whether analysts are predicting a brighter 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. Thank you for reading.