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What Kind Of Investor Owns Most Of Willis Lease Finance Corporation (NASDAQ:WLFC)?

Daryl Painter

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. 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 US$214m, Willis Lease Finance is a small cap stock, so it might not be well known by many institutional investors. Taking a look at the our data on the ownership groups (below), it’s seems that institutional investors have bought into the company. Let’s delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about WLFC.

View our latest analysis for Willis Lease Finance

NasdaqGM:WLFC Ownership Summary December 20th 18

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

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.

Willis Lease Finance already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own 29% of the company. 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. If multiple institutions change their view on a stock at the same time, you could see the share price drop fast. It’s therefore worth looking at Willis Lease Finance’s earnings history, below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

NasdaqGM:WLFC Income Statement Export December 20th 18

Our data indicates that hedge funds own 8.4% of Willis Lease Finance. 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. We’re not picking up on any analyst coverage of the stock at the moment, so the company is unlikely to be widely held.

Insider Ownership Of Willis Lease Finance

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. 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.

Most consider insider ownership a positive because it can indicate the board is well aligned with other shareholders. However, on some occasions too much power is concentrated within this group.

It seems insiders own a significant proportion of Willis Lease Finance Corporation. Insiders have a US$31m stake in this US$214m 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

With a 14% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over WLFC. 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

It seems that Private Companies own 34%, of the WLFC 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 find historic revenue and earnings in this detailed graph.

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.