In a move that may reflect a growing unwillingness to tie their personal fortunes to those of their companies, insiders at the country's seven biggest banks this year have undertaken more than five times the number of stock sales of their corporate shares as they have purchases.
Officers and directors of Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo have sold about $100 million worth of stock so far this year, amid relatively small buying activity, according to public stock filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that have been analyzed by the research firm InsiderScore.
Year to date, Goldman insiders—a list including CEO Lloyd Blankfein, President Gary Cohn, and Chief Financial Officer David Viniar—have sold a combined $64 million worth of shares.
J.P. Morgan insiders, including treasury and securities services head Michael Cavanagh and vice chairman Steven Black, have sold about $16 million.
Citi executives, including institutional client group head John Havens and Asia Pacific region head Stephen Bird, have sold about $5 million. At Wells Fargo, CEO John Stumpf recently sold nearly $6 million worth of shares, following wealth-management head David Carroll, who sold roughly $5 million in stock this past March.
Ben Silverman, research director at InsiderScore, said the recent swath of insider sales at banks signifies that “business is back to normal.” After wild swings in valuation at the major Wall Street firms, “we’ve got a degree of stabilization at the banks,” he said, and insiders may be looking for attractive prices at which to sell.