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What Kind Of Shareholder Owns Most Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADP) Stock?

Simply Wall St

If you want to know who really controls Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADP), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. Companies that used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.

Automatic Data Processing has a market capitalization of US$69b, 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 delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about ADP.

See our latest analysis for Automatic Data Processing

NasdaqGS:ADP Ownership Summary, September 23rd 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Automatic Data Processing?

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.

We can see that Automatic Data Processing does have institutional investors; and they hold 82% of the 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. When multiple institutions own a stock, there's always a risk that they are in a 'crowded trade'. When such a trade goes wrong, multiple parties may compete to sell stock fast. This risk is higher in a company without a history of growth. You can see Automatic Data Processing's historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

NasdaqGS:ADP Income Statement, September 23rd 2019

Institutional investors own over 50% of the company, so together than can probably strongly influence board decisions. Automatic Data Processing is not owned by hedge funds. 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 Automatic Data Processing

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 most recent data indicates that insiders own less than 1% of Automatic Data Processing, Inc.. As it is a large company, we'd only expect insiders to own a small percentage of it. But it's worth noting that they own US$103m worth of shares. In this sort of situation, it can be more interesting to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

With a 17% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over ADP. 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.

Next Steps:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important.

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.

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.

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.