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Tesla shareholders: Who owns the most TSLA stock?


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Electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Tesla (TSLA) has long been a favourite among retail stock investors betting on the clean energy transition, as well as among admirers of the company’s often controversial CEO Elon Musk.

With a market capitalisation of around $759bn at the time of writing (4 October), Tesla was the world’s sixth-largest company by value. It launched its shares on the stock market in June 2010 at $17 a share, and a decade later the stock was trading around $170 – a gain of more than 900%.

The share price has soared in the last two years as the company expanded its manufacturing capacity and vehicle sales, peaking at an all-time high of $1,229.91 in November 2021. Although the price has since pulled back as financial markets have sold off heavily, Tesla is still trading at a higher value than it was at any time up until late 2020.

Tesla split its stock in August 2020, allocating investors five shares for each share they held at that time. In June 2022, the company filed a statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), announcing its intention to carry out a 3-for-1 stock split, which shareholders of Tesla would vote on in their annual August meeting.

By increasing the total number of shares in circulation, a stock split does not affect a company’s market value but reduces the price for each share. That can make a stock more attractive to retail investors with small portfolios, especially if their brokerage does not allow them to buy fractional shares.  

In its filing, Tesla said that a second stock split would help it attract and retain talent through its compensation packages. 

“Unlike other manufacturers, we offer every employee the option of receiving equity. Since our stock split in August 2020 to June 6, 2022, our stock price has risen 43.5%. While this value appreciation has led to our employees benefiting enormously through the years, we want to make sure all employees, no matter when they join, have access to the same advantages,” the filing said. 

“We believe the stock split would help reset the market price of our common stock so that our employees will have more flexibility in managing their equity, all of which, in our view, may help maximise stockholder value. In addition, as retail investors have expressed a high level of interest in investing in our stock, we believe the stock split will also make our common stock more accessible to our retail shareholders.”

How much of Tesla’s stock do retail investors own? How does that compare to insider ownership and institutional investment in the company? If you’re considering investing in Tesla, it’s important to understand who owns the most shares in the company, as the biggest Tesla shareholders can move the share price if they buy or sell large volumes of the stock, affecting the value of your position.

To answer those questions, we take a look at the breakdown of Tesla’s biggest shareholders below.

Who owns Tesla stock?

Tesla has a total of 3.13 billion shares outstanding, according to data from Nasdaq. But who are the stakeholders of Tesla?

Retail investors accounted for the largest block of shares, at around 2.5 billion or 79.85% as of 18 July, according to Nasdaq and WallStreetZen.

Institutional investors accounted for 14.22% of the ownership in the stock, totalling 445 million shares, and company executives held 5.93%, or 185 million shares.

Tesla differs from some of its peers in the automotive industry, in that company insiders have a substantial holding in the stock. US automotive manufacturer Ford (F) has an insider shareholding of just 2% in its stock, while executives at General Motors (GM) hold 12.23% of their company’s stock.

Who owns the most shares of Tesla? Elon Musk is Tesla’s largest individual shareholder. He owns 155.58 million shares, representing 4.97% of the stock.

On 9 August 2022, regulatory filings revealed Musk had sold $6.9bn of TSLA. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO admitted he needed the funds to prevent an emergency sale of TSLA stock if he loses the impending court battle with Twitter over the latter’s termination of his bid to buy the social media platform.

At the current price of $242.40 a share, Musk’s stake in the company is valued at $41.29bn. Other Tesla executives hold 0.96% of the stock. 

Institutional investors hold less of Tesla’s stock than some of its key competitors. Institutions hold more than an 80% share in General Motors, more than 60% in Rivian (RIVN), 53% in Lucid Motor (LCID) and close to 50% in Ford, according to WallStreetZen.

The institutional investors that own the largest stakes in Tesla include investment advisers and managers, banks, financial services firms and asset management companies. As a group they account for the largest portion of Tesla’s shares and can have an impact on the share price. 

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Tesla’s largest institutional investors

Vanguard Group, Blackrock (BLK) and Capital World Investors are among the top institutional shareholders of Tesla, accounting for a combined 15% of its outstanding shares. Let’s take a look at Tesla’s five largest institutional investors and their reasons for holding the stock. 

Vanguard Group

Based in Pennsylvania, investment advisor Vanguard Group owns the largest stake in Tesla among institutional investors, with 2.18% ownership valued at $18.10bn, according to WallStreetZen data. 

What is Vanguard Group? Established in 1975, the company is the world’s second-largest asset manager behind Blackrock, according to ADV Ratings’ list of the world’s top asset management firms. Vanguard provides a range of investment products, advisory and retirement services to individual investors, institutions, and financial professionals. 

Vanguard was at the forefront of creating index-tracking mutual and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to make stock markets easily accessible for retail investors. Such funds track the performance of a benchmark index such as the S&P 500 (US500) or Nasdaq 100 (US100) and allow investors to gain exposure to the markets without having to extensively research and invest in individual stocks.


As of 30 June, Vanguard had more than 30 million investors and offered 411 funds worldwide – around half in the US and half outside. The company had more than $7trn in assets under management (AUM).

Vanguard’s investment products include the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO), Vanguard Information Technology ETF (VGT), and Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI). Vanguard funds hold Tesla stock as part of their market capitalisation-weighted index strategies.

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Blackrock

Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, is the second-biggest institutional investor in Tesla with a 1.77% stake valued at $14.69bn.

Founded in 1988, the New York-based firm has a mix of institutional and retail clients worldwide. Its investment product offerings include multi-asset portfolios investing in equities, bonds, real estate and money market instruments. 

Since 2020, the company has increased its focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing and the transition to net zero carbon emissions, making Tesla a fitting investment. As of 30 June, Blackrock had AUM of $8.5trn. 

State Street

Tesla’s third-largest institutional shareholder, State Street, holds a 10.1% stake in the company worth $8.43bn. US-based financial services and bank holding firm State Street Corporation was incorporated in 1969 but traces its roots back to its predecessor Union Bank, which was founded in 1792 in Boston. State Street had $4.1trn in AUM at the end of 2021.

The company said in its 2021 annual report that its strategic focus involves refining its offerings to meet increasing client demands around ESG, as well as private markets, enhanced data aggregation and analytics and efficient operating models.

Capital World Investors

The private equity firm is one of the oldest in the US, having been founded in 1931 in Los Angeles. Capital World Investors is an equities-focused branch of investment management firm Capital Group. The company had AUM of around $2.7trn at the end of 2021.

Capital Group offers a range of investment products to its clients, including over 40 mutual funds, as well as separately managed accounts, collective investment trusts and investment services for high-net-worth individuals. Capital Group prioritises active management strategies.

Natixis

A French corporate and investment bank, created as a result of the merger of Natexis Banques Populaires and Groupe Caisse d’épargne. As of 31 December 2021, Global Markets 2022 ranked Natixis Investment Managers as the 18th largest asset manager in the world based on assets under management.

At the time of writing on 4 October, Natixis had AUM of €1.2trn, as well as over 20 asset managers and more than 25 offices worldwide.

Biggest individual Tesla shareholders

Who are the individuals with the most ownership control over Tesla? Let’s look at the top three insiders.  

Elon Musk

As Tesla’s largest shareholder with a 4.97% stake, Musk can have a strong influence over the direction of the share price.

For instance, the stock fell in value in November 2021 after Musk sold 10% of his stake, following a Twitter poll in which he asked whether he should sell some of his shares to pay taxes. 

The share price fell again in early 2022 when Musk sold more shares to finance his proposed acquisition of social media platform Twitter (TWTR). Musk’s stake in Tesla has fallen slightly as it accounted for around 17% of the stock in February 2022. 

In the past Musk has prompted spikes in Tesla’s share price volatility by suggesting the stock is overvalued.

Herbert Kohler

A former board member at Tesla, Kohler remains among Tesla’s major shareholders, holding the second-largest individual stake in the company. Kohler, who was a vice president of German automaker Daimler, joined the board in May 2009 when Daimler took a 10% stake in Tesla. He resigned from Tesla’s board in 2012.

Kohler’s 12.98 million shares account for a 0.41% stake in the company and were valued at $3.44bn at the time of writing.

H.E. Ahmed Saif Al Darmaki 

Al Darmaki joined Tesla’s board in September 2008 in connection with an investment in the company before its initial price offering (IPO) by Al Wahda Capital Investment, which is the investment arm of the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority. Al Darmaki was a planning and development director at the Authority at the time. 

Al Darmaki resigned from Tesla’s board in 2012 and Al Wahda Capital Investment sold its 7% stake in Tesla when management changes resulted in it selling the Tesla shares, as they were a non-core holding. The sale in April 2012 saw Tesla’s share price drop by 7% in response, reflecting the impact of large Tesla shareholders on the stock price. 

Al Darmaki still holds 7.29 million shares in Tesla, valued at $1.94bn and accounting for a 0.23% stake in the company.

The bottom line

The volatility in the share price in response to the actions of the largest Tesla shareholders shows how important it is for retail investors to understand the company’s share ownership.

Large investors can have a substantial influence over the future performance of a company stock, which can in turn affect the value of your investment. However, a company’s individual and institutional share ownership is only a small part of the picture and should not be the main reason for your decision to buy a stock. 

Whether TSLA is a suitable investment for you depends on a number of personal factors, including your investing goals, trading strategy and risk tolerance, and the size of your portfolio. It is essential that you do your own research before making any investment or trading decision. Never invest or trade money that you cannot afford to lose. 

FAQs

How many Tesla shares are there?

As of 4 October, Tesla has a total of 3.13 billion shares outstanding, according to data from the Nasdaq Stock Exchange.

How many shareholders does Tesla have?

Tesla has 2,900 institutional shareholders, according to Nasdaq data, in addition to individual investors and company executives.

Who owns Tesla?

Institutional investors account for 14.22% of Tesla’s share ownership, with retail investors accounting for 79.85% and company executives holding 5.93%.

How many Tesla shares does Elon Musk own?

Elon Musk is Tesla’s largest individual shareholder, owning 155.65 million shares representing 4.97% of the stock.

Further reading

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The difference between trading assets and CFDs
The main difference between CFD trading and trading assets, such as commodities and stocks, is that you don’t own the underlying asset when you trade on a CFD.
You can still benefit if the market moves in your favour, or make a loss if it moves against you. However, with traditional trading you enter a contract to exchange the legal ownership of the individual shares or the commodities for money, and you own this until you sell it again.
CFDs are leveraged products, which means that you only need to deposit a percentage of the full value of the CFD trade in order to open a position. But with traditional trading, you buy the assets for the full amount. In the UK, there is no stamp duty on CFD trading, but there is when you buy stocks, for example.
CFDs attract overnight costs to hold the trades (unless you use 1-1 leverage), which makes them more suited to short-term trading opportunities. Stocks and commodities are more normally bought and held for longer. You might also pay a broker commission or fees when buying and selling assets direct and you’d need somewhere to store them safely.
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