Who Owns Bank of America?

When it comes to investing, going with the crowd will rarely if ever make you rich. If your objective is to buy low and sell high, then, in the words of Warren Buffett, you must be "greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy." This is the foundation of contrarian investing.

But there's a twist. To be a contrarian investor, you must first know what to be contrary to. And this is where the SEC's invaluable EDGAR database comes in. Every quarter companies and large institutional investors are required to disclose their equity holdings. By patching these together, we can get a fuller picture of a particular stock's popularity.

What follows, in turn, is a look at the principal owners of Bank of America's (NYSE: BAC  ) outstanding common stock.

A broad overview
As you can see in the following chart, the majority of B of A's nearly 11 billion shares are held by institutional investors. Company insiders, including board members and corporate executives, own a further 0.06% of the outstanding common stock. And the public at large owns the remaining 40%.

Source: S&P's Capital IQ.

Institutional investors
Digging in a big further, the largest institutional stake holders in B of A are asset managers. Bond giant BlackRock (NYSE: BLK  ) tops the list at 4.9% ownership, followed by The Vanguard Group at 4.3%, and the asset management arms of State Street (NYSE: STT  ) , Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) , and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) at 4.2%, 2.1%, and 1.8%, respectively.

Source: S&P's Capital IQ.

The largest buyers have been Citigroup and Fidelity investments, which have recently acquired 226 million and 66 million shares of common stock, respectively. Meanwhile, the two largest sellers of late have been Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, which have disposed of 54 million and 22 million shares, respectively.

Biggest insiders
Turning to inside investors, far and away the largest inside owner is Thomas Montag, B of A's co-chief operating officer, who received the equivalent of more than 1.5 million shares as a part of B of A's Merrill Lynch acquisition. The second largest holder is board member Charles Gifford with 796,283 shares -- Gifford was the chairman and chief executive officer at FleetBoston Financial before B of A acquired it 2004. And it's not until you get to the fifth place that current CEO Brian Moynihan appears with an equivalent of nearly half a million shares.

Source: S&P's Capital IQ.

The Foolish bottom line
While insider and institutional ownership together represent only one metric, it's nevertheless an important one. Beyond hinting at the overall market's sentiment toward a stock, it also gives investors insight into the confidence of the people best positioned to predict a company's current state and future success.

Want to learn more about B of A?
To learn more about the most talked-about bank out there, check out our in-depth company report on Bank of America. The report details Bank of America's prospects, including three reasons to buy and three reasons to sell. Just click here to get access.

Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (17)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2013, at 11:06 PM, myeerah wrote:

    I'm sorry but can you come to a conclusion here? What's the point of this piece? Is it just pointing out who owns the most shares? I think the article is missing a closing of point....it might be the multiple glasses of wine I have had but this article is missing something.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2013, at 11:21 PM, thunderboltnova wrote:

    The article thinks you should buy B of A.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2013, at 1:00 AM, maazzoo69 wrote:

    Myeerah, it could be telling you that it is important to know insider ownership in a company. My rule is the greater, the better because it can tell you that management is invested in the business that they care.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2013, at 8:34 AM, rayzur9 wrote:

    Better yet,

    find out what companies your congressmen are vested in.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2013, at 1:08 PM, SkepikI wrote:

    maazzoo69- a good rule of thumb if management is smart and excellent. A bad rule if they are idiots...when Ken Lewis bought Countrywide, and Merrill Lynch, he was an insider BOA shareholder, and an idiot. I think his legacy continues...and continues...and, well you get my drift.

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