Could The Geneva Finance Limited (NZSE:GFL) Ownership Structure Tell Us Something Useful?

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If you want to know who really controls Geneva Finance Limited (NZSE:GFL), then you’ll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. 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.

Geneva Finance is not a large company by global standards. It has a market capitalization of NZ$43m, which means it wouldn’t have the attention of many institutional investors. In the chart below below, we can see that institutional investors have not yet purchased shares. Let’s take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholder can tell us about GFL.

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See our latest analysis for Geneva Finance

NZSE:GFL Ownership Summary, May 16th 2019

What Does The Lack Of Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Geneva Finance?

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 are many reasons why a company might not have any institutions on the share registry. It may be hard for institutions to buy large amounts of shares, if liquidity (the amount of shares traded each day) is low. If the company has not needed to raise capital, institutions might lack the opportunity to build a position. On the other hand, it’s always possible that professional investors are avoiding a company because they don’t think it’s the best place for their money. Geneva Finance’s earnings and revenue track record (below) may not be compelling to institutional investors — or they simply might not have looked at the business closely.

NZSE:GFL Income Statement, May 16th 2019

Hedge funds don’t have many shares in Geneva Finance. Our information suggests that there isn’t any analyst coverage of the stock, so it is probably little known.

Insider Ownership Of Geneva Finance

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

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.

Our most recent data indicates that insiders own a reasonable proportion of Geneva Finance Limited. Insiders own NZ$5.6m worth of shares in the NZ$43m company. I would say this shows alignment with shareholders, but it is worth noting that the company is still quite small; some insiders may have founded the business. You can click here to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public, who are mostly retail investors, collectively hold 84% of Geneva Finance shares. 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.

Next Steps:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important.

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.

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.