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It is not uncommon to see companies perform well in the years after insiders buy shares. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of examples of share prices declining precipitously after insiders have sold shares. So before you buy or sell Hiscox Ltd (LON:HSX), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.
What Is Insider Selling?
It is perfectly legal for company insiders, including board members, to buy and sell stock in a company. However, rules govern insider transactions, and certain disclosures are required.
Insider transactions are not the most important thing when it comes to long-term investing. But equally, we would consider it foolish to ignore insider transactions altogether. As Peter Lynch said, 'insiders might sell their shares for any number of reasons, but they buy them for only one: they think the price will rise'.
The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Hiscox
In the last twelve months, the biggest single purchase by an insider was when Group CEO & Executive Director Bronislaw Masojada bought UK£159k worth of shares at a price of UK£12.76 per share. So it's clear an insider wanted to buy, even at a higher price than the current share price (being UK£8.80). Their view may have changed since then, but at least it shows they felt optimistic at the time. We always take careful note of the price insiders pay when purchasing shares. As a general rule, we feel more positive about a stock if insiders have bought shares at above current prices, because that suggests they viewed the stock as good value, even at a higher price.
In the last twelve months Hiscox insiders were buying shares, but not selling. You can see the insider transactions (by companies and individuals) over the last year depicted in the chart below. If you click on the chart, you can see all the individual transactions, including the share price, individual, and the date!
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).
Insiders at Hiscox Have Bought Stock Recently
We saw some Hiscox insider buying shares in the last three months. Senior Independent Director Colin Keogh purchased UK£14k worth of shares in that period. It's good to see the insider buying, as well as the lack of recent sellers. But in this case the amount purchased means the recent transaction may not be very meaningful on its own.
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. Insiders own 1.5% of Hiscox shares, worth about UK£45m. We've certainly seen higher levels of insider ownership elsewhere, but these holdings are enough to suggest alignment between insiders and the other shareholders.
So What Do The Hiscox Insider Transactions Indicate?
Our data shows a little insider buying, but no selling, in the last three months. The net investment is not enough to encourage us much. On a brighter note, the transactions over the last year are encouraging. Insiders own shares in Hiscox and we see no evidence to suggest they are worried about the future. So these insider transactions can help us build a thesis about the stock, but it's also worthwhile knowing the risks facing this company. To help with this, we've discovered 2 warning signs (1 is a bit concerning!) that you ought to be aware of before buying any shares in Hiscox.
Of course Hiscox may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of high quality 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.
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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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