The big shareholder groups in Westamerica Bancorporation (NASDAQ:WABC) 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. Companies that have been privatized tend to have low insider ownership.
Westamerica Bancorporation has a market capitalization of US$1.7b, so we would expect some institutional investors to have noticed the stock. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it seems that institutions own shares in the company. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Westamerica Bancorporation.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Westamerica Bancorporation?
Many institutions measure their performance against an index that approximates the local market. So they usually pay more attention to companies that are included in major indices.
We can see that Westamerica Bancorporation does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company's stock. This suggests some credibility amongst professional investors. But we can't rely on that fact alone since institutions make bad investments sometimes, just like everyone does. It is not uncommon to see a big share price drop if two large institutional investors try to sell out of a stock at the same time. So it is worth checking the past earnings trajectory of Westamerica Bancorporation, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.
Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. Hedge funds don't have many shares in Westamerica Bancorporation. The company's largest shareholder is BlackRock, Inc., with ownership of 15%. For context, the second largest shareholder holds about 13% of the shares outstanding, followed by an ownership of 11% by the third-largest shareholder. In addition, we found that David Payne, the CEO has 3.3% of the shares allocated to their name.
On further inspection, we found that more than half the company's shares are owned by the top 6 shareholders, suggesting that the interests of the larger shareholders are balanced out to an extent by the smaller ones.
While studying institutional ownership for a company can add value to your research, it is also a good practice to research analyst recommendations to get a deeper understand of a stock's expected performance. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.
Insider Ownership Of Westamerica Bancorporation
While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. The company management answer to the board and the latter should represent the interests of shareholders. Notably, sometimes top-level managers are on the board themselves.
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 Westamerica Bancorporation. This is a big company, so it is good to see this level of alignment. Insiders own US$68m worth of shares (at current prices). If you would like to explore the question of insider alignment, you can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.
General Public Ownership
With a 19% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over Westamerica Bancorporation. This size of ownership, while considerable, may not be enough to change company policy if the decision is not in sync with other large shareholders.
It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Westamerica Bancorporation better, we need to consider many other factors. For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Westamerica Bancorporation that you should be aware of before investing here.
If you are like me, you may want to think about whether this company will grow or shrink. Luckily, you can check this free report showing analyst forecasts for its future.
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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