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 New York Mellon's (NYSE: BK ) outstanding common stock.
A broad overview
As you can see in the following chart, the majority of Bank of New York Mellon's 1.16 billion shares are held by institutional investors. Company insiders, including board members and corporate executives, own a further 0.36% of the outstanding common stock. The public at large owns the remaining 15%.
Digging in a big further, the largest institutional stakeholders in Bank of New York Mellon are Davis Selected Advisors, MFS Investment Management, Dodge & Cox, bond giant BlackRock, and The Vanguard Group.
The largest buyers have been Cortland Advisers and the asset management division of State Street, which have recently acquired 9.1 million and 2.9 million shares of common stock, respectively. Meanwhile, the two largest sellers of late have been Davis Selected Advisors and AXA Investment Management, which have disposed of 9.4 million and 3.6 million shares, respectively.
Turning to inside investors, the largest inside owner is Gerald Hassell, Bank of New York Mellon's chairman and chief executive officer. The second largest holder is Curtis Arledge, the CEO of the bank's investment management division. And the third largest holder is Brian Gerard Rogan, the chief risk officer.
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.
Learn more about Bank of New York Mellon
While some big banks continue to limp through their post-crisis recovery, Bank of New York Mellon has bounced right back. Though the bank is an 800-pound gorilla in the custody and asset management business, a new regulatory environment could be either a big new opportunity or a considerable risk. To help figure out whether this banker's bank is worthy of a spot on your watchlist, you're invited to check out The Motley Fool's new premium research report on BoNY. Click here now to claim your copy, and receive a full FREE year of key updates and guidance as news develops.