This article was updated on Nov. 13, 2014.
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 JPMorgan Chase's (NYSE: JPM ) outstanding common stock.
A broad overview
As you can see in the following chart, the majority of JPMorgan's nearly 3.8 billion shares are held by institutional investors. Company insiders, including board members and corporate executives, own a further 0.55% of the outstanding common stock. And the public at large owns the remaining 23%.
Digging in a big further, the largest institutional stake holders in JPMorgan are asset managers. Bond giant BlackRock (NYSE: BLK ) tops the list at 6.3% ownership, followed by The Vanguard Group, the asset management arm of State Street (NYSE: STT ) , Fidelity Investments, and Capital Research & Management.
The largest buyers have been Spectrum Asset Management and T. Rowe Price, which have recently acquired 19.2 million and 10.1 million shares of common stock, respectively. Meanwhile, the two largest sellers of late have been Columbia Management Investment Advisers and Winslow Capital Management, which have disposed of 9.4 million and 5.2 million shares, respectively.
Biggest inside investors
Turning to inside investors, far and away the largest insider is James Crown, an independent director and chairman of the risk committee. The second largest is chief executive officer Jamie Dimon, who has amassed nearly 6 million shares in the bank. And the third largest holder is Daniel Pinto, the CEO of JPMorgan's corporate and investment bank.
The Foolish bottom line
While individual 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.
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