What Kind Of Shareholders Own Willis Lease Finance Corporation (NASDAQ:WLFC)?

The big shareholder groups in Willis Lease Finance Corporation (NASDAQ:WLFC) 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. I quite like to see at least a little bit of insider ownership. As Charlie Munger said ‘Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome.’

Willis Lease Finance is a smaller company with a market capitalization of US$241m, so it may still be flying under the radar of many institutional investors. In the chart below below, we can see that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. Let’s delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about WLFC.

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NasdaqGM:WLFC Ownership Summary January 23rd 19
NasdaqGM:WLFC Ownership Summary January 23rd 19

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Willis Lease Finance?

Institutional investors commonly compare their own returns to the returns of a commonly followed index. So they generally do consider buying larger companies that are included in the relevant benchmark index.

We can see that Willis Lease Finance does have institutional investors; and they hold 29% of the stock. This implies the analysts working for those institutions have looked at the stock and they like it. But just like anyone else, they could be wrong. 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 Willis Lease Finance, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

NasdaqGM:WLFC Income Statement Export January 23rd 19
NasdaqGM:WLFC Income Statement Export January 23rd 19

It would appear that 8.4% of Willis Lease Finance shares are controlled by hedge funds. That’s interesting, because hedge funds can be quite active and activist. Many look for medium term catalysts that will drive the share price higher. Our information suggests that there isn’t any analyst coverage of the stock, so it is probably little known.

Insider Ownership Of Willis Lease Finance

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.

Insider ownership is positive when it signals leadership are thinking like the true owners of the company. However, high insider ownership can also give immense power to a small group within the company. This can be negative in some circumstances.

It seems insiders own a significant proportion of Willis Lease Finance Corporation. Insiders have a US$35m stake in this US$241m business. This may suggest that the founders still own a lot of shares. You can click here to see if they have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public, with a 14% stake in the company, will not easily be ignored. While this size of ownership may not be enough to sway a policy decision in their favour, they can still make a collective impact on company policies.

Private Company Ownership

Our data indicates that Private Companies hold 34%, of the company’s shares. 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:

It’s always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Willis Lease Finance better, we need to consider many other factors.

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 this may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free 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.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.