Stock Analysis

What Kind Of Investors Own Most Of VersaBank (TSE:VB)?

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TSX:VBNK
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The big shareholder groups in VersaBank (TSE:VB) have power over the company. Institutions often own shares in more established companies, while it's not unusual to see insiders own a fair bit of smaller companies. Warren Buffett said that he likes "a business with enduring competitive advantages that is run by able and owner-oriented people." So it's nice to see some insider ownership, because it may suggest that management is owner-oriented.

With a market capitalization of CA$148m, VersaBank is a small cap stock, so it might not be well known by many institutional investors. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutions are not really that prevalent on the share registry. Let's delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about VersaBank.

See our latest analysis for VersaBank

ownership-breakdown
TSX:VB Ownership Breakdown November 17th 2020

What Does The Lack Of Institutional Ownership Tell Us About VersaBank?

Institutional investors often avoid companies that are too small, too illiquid or too risky for their tastes. But it's unusual to see larger companies without any institutional investors.

There could be various reasons why no institutions own shares in a company. Typically, small, newly listed companies don't attract much attention from fund managers, because it would not be possible for large fund managers to build a meaningful position in the company. It is also possible that fund managers don't own the stock because they aren't convinced it will perform well. VersaBank might not have the sort of past performance institutions are looking for, or perhaps they simply have not studied the business closely.

earnings-and-revenue-growth
TSX:VB Earnings and Revenue Growth November 17th 2020

Hedge funds don't have many shares in VersaBank. Our data shows that 340268 Ontario Limited is the largest shareholder with 35% of shares outstanding. In comparison, the second and third largest shareholders hold about 7.8% and 4.9% of the stock. David Taylor, who is the third-largest shareholder, also happens to hold the title of Member of the Board of Directors.

On studying our ownership data, we found that 25 of the top shareholders collectively own less than 50% of the share register, implying that no single individual has a majority interest.

While it makes sense to study institutional ownership data for a company, it also makes sense to study analyst sentiments to know which way the wind is blowing. As far I can tell there isn't analyst coverage of the company, so it is probably flying under the radar.

Insider Ownership Of VersaBank

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. Management ultimately answers to the board. However, it is not uncommon for managers to be executive board members, especially if they are a founder or the CEO.

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.

It seems insiders own a significant proportion of VersaBank. It has a market capitalization of just CA$148m, and insiders have CA$22m worth of shares in their own names. It is great to see insiders so invested in the business. It might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying recently.

General Public Ownership

The general public, mostly retail investors, hold a substantial 50% stake in VersaBank, suggesting it is a fairly popular stock. This level of ownership gives retail investors the power to sway key policy decisions such as board composition, executive compensation, and the dividend payout ratio.

Private Company Ownership

It seems that Private Companies own 35%, of the VersaBank stock. It might be worth looking deeper into this. If related parties, such as insiders, have an interest in one of these private companies, that should be disclosed in the annual report. Private companies may also have a strategic interest in the company.

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 access this interactive graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow, for free.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies.

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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