To get a sense of who is truly in control of MFA Financial, Inc. (NYSE:MFA), it is important to understand the ownership structure of the business. The group holding the most number of shares in the company, around 53% to be precise, is institutions. Put another way, the group faces the maximum upside potential (or downside risk).
Last week’s US$98m market cap gain would probably be appreciated by institutional investors, especially after a year of 36% losses.
Let’s take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about MFA Financial.
Check out our latest analysis for MFA Financial
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About MFA 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.
MFA 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 MFA Financial’s historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there’s always more to the story.
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 MFA Financial. Starwood Capital Operations, LLC is currently the largest shareholder, with 10% of shares outstanding. In comparison, the second and third largest shareholders hold about 9.6% and 8.5% of the stock.
Looking at the shareholder registry, we can see that 51% of the ownership is controlled by the top 19 shareholders, meaning that no single shareholder has a majority interest in the ownership.
Researching institutional ownership is a good way to gauge and filter a stock’s expected performance. The same can be achieved by studying analyst sentiments. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.
Insider Ownership Of MFA 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.
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.
Our most recent data indicates that insiders own less than 1% of MFA Financial, Inc.. Keep in mind that it’s a big company, and the insiders own US$7.2m worth of shares. The absolute value might be more important than the proportional share. It is always good to see at least some insider ownership, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.
General Public Ownership
The general public– including retail investors — own 36% stake in the company, and hence can’t easily be ignored. While this group can’t necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.
Private Equity Ownership
Private equity firms hold a 10% stake in MFA Financial. This suggests they can be influential in key policy decisions. Some investors might be encouraged by this, since private equity are sometimes able to encourage strategies that help the market see the value in the company. Alternatively, those holders might be exiting the investment after taking it public.
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. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We’ve identified 2 warning signs with MFA Financial (at least 1 which is a bit concerning) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
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.
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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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