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What Type Of Shareholders Make Up Sun Life Financial Inc.'s (TSE:SLF) Share Registry?

Every investor in Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSE:SLF) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. Large companies usually have institutions as shareholders, and we usually see insiders owning shares in smaller companies. Companies that used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.

Sun Life Financial is a pretty big company. It has a market capitalization of CA$35b. Normally institutions would own a significant portion of a company this size. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it seems that institutions own shares in the company. Let's delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about Sun Life Financial.

Check out our latest analysis for Sun Life Financial

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Sun Life Financial?

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.

Sun Life Financial already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. 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 Sun Life Financial's historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

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

Institutional investors own over 50% of the company, so together than can probably strongly influence board decisions. Sun Life Financial is not owned by hedge funds. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is RBC Global Asset Management Inc. with 3.5% of shares outstanding. The Vanguard Group, Inc. is the second largest shareholder owning 3.4% of common stock, and Royal Bank of Canada, Banking & Securities Investments holds about 3.3% of the company 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. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of Sun Life Financial

The definition of company insiders can be subjective and does vary between jurisdictions. Our data reflects individual insiders, capturing board members at the very least. 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.

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 Sun Life Financial Inc.. It is a very large company, so it would be surprising to see insiders own a large proportion of the company. Though their holding amounts to less than 1%, we can see that board members collectively own CA$6.5m worth of shares (at current prices). It is good to see board members owning shares, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.

General Public Ownership

With a 48% ownership, the general public, mostly comprising of individual investors, have some degree of sway over Sun Life Financial. While this group can't necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.

Next Steps:

I find it very interesting to look at who exactly owns a company. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. For instance, we've identified 1 warning sign for Sun Life Financial that you should be aware of.

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.

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.