To get a sense of who is truly in control of Heritage Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:HFWA), it is important to understand the ownership structure of the business. The group holding the most number of shares in the company, around 79% to be precise, is institutions. Put another way, the group faces the maximum upside potential (or downside risk).
Because institutional owners have a huge pool of resources and liquidity, their investing decisions tend to carry a great deal of weight, especially with individual investors. As a result, a sizeable amount of institutional money invested in a firm is generally viewed as a positive attribute.
In the chart below, we zoom in on the different ownership groups of Heritage Financial.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Heritage Financial?
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 Heritage Financial does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company's stock. 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. 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 Heritage Financial, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.
Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Heritage Financial. BlackRock, Inc. is currently the company's largest shareholder with 15% of shares outstanding. With 6.6% and 5.4% of the shares outstanding respectively, The Vanguard Group, Inc. and Dimensional Fund Advisors LP are the second and third largest shareholders.
A closer look at our ownership figures suggests that the top 11 shareholders have a combined ownership of 51% implying that no single shareholder has a majority.
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 plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.
Insider Ownership Of Heritage Financial
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 Heritage Financial Corporation. As individuals, the insiders collectively own US$17m worth of the US$948m company. This shows at least some alignment. You can click here to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.
General Public Ownership
The general public-- including retail investors -- own 19% stake in the company, and hence can't easily be ignored. 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.
It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Heritage Financial better, we need to consider many other factors. For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Heritage Financial that you should be aware of before investing here.
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. 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.
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