Will: At Heartland we have a number of ways to identify attractive investment opportunities for our clients, but a common tool that we use and one that’s been very successful for our shareholders is monitoring insider buying. If the Board of Directors, the executive officers have ownership stakes in the company they’re working for, they have a vested interest in creating shareholder value for themselves and their broader stakeholders. They have skin in the game.
Conversely, when we see a significant degree of insider selling by the Board of Directors or executive officers that’s going to catch our attention too. That’s going to cause us to revisit our investment thesis. Is that catalyst still in the mix, is it still at play? Perhaps it is, but maybe it's already reflected in the valuation of the company, so we might follow those insiders too and sell our positions.
At Heartland we have a simple philosophy and that is if shareholder interests are aligned with management, the likelihood of a successful outcome in terms of that investment should go higher.
They’ll be acting like owners and thinking more long-term versus short-term, perhaps be more willing to do more shareholder friendly actions like buying back stock at the appropriate time, implementing or raising their dividend, doing accretive M&A versus chasing a fad in their industry, and maintaining a strong balance sheet to help them survive a challenging economic backdrop and perhaps even thrive.