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Have Insiders Been Buying Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) Shares This Year?

Simply Wall St

It is not uncommon to see companies perform well in the years after insiders buy shares. On the other hand, we'd be remiss not to mention that insider sales have been known to precede tough periods for a business. So we'll take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC).

What Is Insider Buying?

It's quite normal to see company insiders, such as board members, trading in company stock, from time to time. However, rules govern insider transactions, and certain disclosures are required.

We would never suggest that investors should base their decisions solely on what the directors of a company have been doing. But equally, we would consider it foolish to ignore insider transactions altogether. For example, a Columbia University study found that 'insiders are more likely to engage in open market purchases of their own company’s stock when the firm is about to reveal new agreements with customers and suppliers'.

See our latest analysis for Westpac Banking

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Westpac Banking

In the last twelve months, the biggest single purchase by an insider was when MD, Group CEO & Director Brian Hartzer bought AU$1.1m worth of shares at a price of AU$25.00 per share. So it's clear an insider wanted to buy, at around the current price, which is AU$29.89. Of course they may have changed their mind. But this suggests they are optimistic. We do always like to see insider buying, but it is worth noting if those purchases were made at well below today's share price, as the discount to value may have narrowed with the rising price. The good news for Westpac Banking share holders is that insiders were buying at near the current price. Notably Brian Hartzer was also the biggest seller.

Over the last year, we can see that insiders have bought 58945 shares worth AU$1.5m. But they sold 43914 for AU$1.1m. In the last twelve months there was more buying than selling by Westpac Banking insiders. You can see the insider transactions (by individuals) over the last year depicted in the chart below. If you want to know exactly who sold, for how much, and when, simply click on the graph below!

ASX:WBC Recent Insider Trading, September 25th 2019

There are always plenty of stocks that insiders are buying. So if that suits your style you could check each stock one by one or you could take a look at this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

Westpac Banking Insiders Bought Stock Recently

Over the last quarter, Westpac Banking insiders have spent a meaningful amount on shares. Overall, two insiders shelled out AU$329k for shares in the company -- and none sold. This could be interpreted as suggesting a positive outlook.

Does Westpac Banking Boast High Insider Ownership?

Many investors like to check how much of a company is owned by insiders. A high insider ownership often makes company leadership more mindful of shareholder interests. It appears that Westpac Banking insiders own 0.03% of the company, worth about AU$33m. This level of insider ownership is good but just short of being particularly stand-out. It certainly does suggest a reasonable degree of alignment.

So What Do The Westpac Banking Insider Transactions Indicate?

It's certainly positive to see the recent insider purchases. We also take confidence from the longer term picture of insider transactions. Insiders likely see value in Westpac Banking shares, given these transactions (along with notable insider ownership of the company). 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.

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

For the purposes of this article, insiders are those individuals who report their transactions to the relevant regulatory body. We currently account for open market transactions and private dispositions, but not derivative transactions.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

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.