Shareholder Base and Investor Targeting
Generally, shares traded on stock exchanges are bearer shares, not registered shares, and as a consequence management does not know who the ultimate shareholders of their company are.
There are a number of possibilities to identify the shareholders in a company, and to consequently determine the shareholder base.
Through calls and during roadshows, the IRO can directly ask interested investors whether they are shareholder of the company and, if so, how many shares they own. Whereas some investors have a policy not to disclose such info, most investors have no problem providing this information or to give an indication.
Through official notifications
In many countries, investors are obliged to disclose a shareholding in a certain company if that shareholding crosses a certain threshold, either up or down. In the Netherlands for instance, shareholders are obliged to disclose their shareholding in a certain company it if crosses the following thresholds: 3%, 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%, 25%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 75% and 95%. This disclosure is done to the AFM, who will subsequently publish this ina public register on their website.
There is also a reporting obligation to the AFM if a shareholder has a shortposition which exceeds a certain percentage level of the share capital in a certain company.
In addition to these disclosures to a financial regulator some US based investors are obliged to fully disclosure their shareholdings periodically.
Finally, on the back of an increasing demand for more disclosure, some investment firms have decided to periodically disclosure their total public equity portfolio on their website.
Shareholder identification survey
The most thorough way to assess the shareholder base in the company, is to retain an advisor to conduct a shareholder identification survey. Such advisors have a large database of investors throughout the world whom they can approach on behalf of a company to request to disclose their shareholding in that company. Subject to the shareholder base of each individual company and the agency that conducts the study, shareholder identification surveys may identify well of 80% of the shareholder base.
For more information on investor targeting also see “IR Programme”.