Do Directors Own WidePoint Corporation (NYSEMKT:WYY) Shares?

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If you want to know who really controls WidePoint Corporation (NYSEMKT:WYY), then you’ll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. Insiders often own a large chunk of younger, smaller, companies while huge companies tend to have institutions as shareholders. I generally like to see some degree of insider ownership, even if only a little. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb said, ‘Don’t tell me what you think, tell me what you have in your portfolio.’

With a market capitalization of US$37m, WidePoint is a small cap stock, so it might not be well known by many institutional investors. In the chart below below, we can see that institutions own shares in the company. Let’s delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about WYY.

See our latest analysis for WidePoint

AMEX:WYY Ownership Summary, July 4th 2019
AMEX:WYY Ownership Summary, July 4th 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About WidePoint?

Institutions typically measure themselves against a benchmark when reporting to their own investors, so they often become more enthusiastic about a stock once it’s included in a major index. We would expect most companies to have some institutions on the register, especially if they are growing.

As you can see, institutional investors own 8.5% of WidePoint. This can indicate that the company has a certain degree of credibility in the investment community. However, it is best to be wary of relying on the supposed validation that comes with institutional investors. They too, get it wrong sometimes. When multiple institutions own a stock, there’s always a risk that they are in a ‘crowded trade’. When such a trade goes wrong, multiple parties may compete to sell stock fast. This risk is higher in a company without a history of growth. You can see WidePoint’s historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there’s always more to the story.

AMEX:WYY Income Statement, July 4th 2019
AMEX:WYY Income Statement, July 4th 2019

It would appear that 15% of WidePoint shares are controlled by hedge funds. That catches my attention because hedge funds sometimes try to influence management, or bring about changes that will create near term value for shareholders. While there is some analyst coverage, the company is probably not widely covered. So it could gain more attention, down the track.

Insider Ownership Of WidePoint

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.

I generally consider insider ownership to be a good thing. However, on some occasions it makes it more difficult for other shareholders to hold the board accountable for decisions.

We can see that insiders own shares in WidePoint Corporation. In their own names, insiders own US$2.4m worth of stock in the US$37m company. Some would say this shows alignment of interests between shareholders and the board, though I generally prefer to see bigger insider holdings. But it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public, mostly retail investors, hold a substantial 70% stake in WYY, suggesting it is a fairly popular stock. With this size of ownership, retail investors can collectively play a role in decisions that affect shareholder returns, such as dividend policies and the appointment of directors. They can also exercise the power to decline an acquisition or merger that may not improve profitability.

Next Steps:

I find it very interesting to look at who exactly owns a company. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too.

I like to dive deeper into how a company has performed in the past. You can find historic revenue and earnings in this detailed graph.

Ultimately the future is most important. You can access this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

NB: Figures in this article are calculated using data from the last twelve months, which refer to the 12-month period ending on the last date of the month the financial statement is dated. This may not be consistent with full year annual report figures.

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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.