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 Annaly Capital Management's outstanding common stock.


A broad overview
As you can see in the following chart, the majority of Annaly's 947 million shares are held by retail investors. Company insiders, including board members and corporate executives, own a further 0.57% of the outstanding common stock. And institutional investors own the remaining 46%.

Source: S&P's Capital IQ.

Institutional investors
Digging in a big further, the largest institutional stake holders in Annaly are asset managers. Bond giant BlackRock tops the list at 6.7% ownership, followed by Pine River Capital Management at 2.5%, Bank of New York Mellon's asset management arm at 2.3%, The Vanguard Group at 2.2%, and Allianz Global Investors at 2.1%. 

Source: S&P's Capital IQ.

The largest buyers have been Pine River and BNY Mellon, which have recently acquired 23.9 million and 21.8 million shares of common stock, respectively. Meanwhile, the two largest sellers of late have been Leggg Mason Capital Management and Thornburg Capital Management, which have disposed of 6.1 million and 5.5 million shares, respectively.

Biggest insiders
Turning to inside investors, far and away the largest inside owner is Michael Farrell, the former and late chairman and CEO, with 2.7 million shares, followed by the current chairman and CEO Wellington Denahan with 913,263 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.

There's no question Annaly Capital's double-digit dividend is eye-catching. But can investors count on that payout sticking around? With the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates at historically low levels, Annaly has had to scramble to defend its bottom line. In The Motley Fool's premium research report on Annaly, senior analysts Ilan Moscovitz and Matt Koppenheffer uncover the key challenges the company faces and divulge three reasons investors may consider buying it. Simply click here now to claim your copy, and as an added bonus, you'll receive a FREE year of key updates and expert analysis as news continues to develop.

The article Who Owns Annaly Capital Management? originally appeared on Fool.com.

John Maxfield has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends BlackRock. The Motley Fool owns shares of Annaly Capital Management. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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