Is Bank of Marin Bancorp (BMRC) A Good Stock To Buy?

Is Bank of Marin Bancorp (NASDAQ:BMRC) a good stock to buy right now? We at Insider Monkey like to examine what billionaires and hedge funds think of a company before doing days of research on it. Given their 2 and 20 payment structure, hedge funds have more resources than the average investor. The funds have access to expert networks and get tips from industry insiders. They also have numerous Ivy League graduates and MBAs. Like everyone else, hedge funds perform miserably at times, but their consensus picks have historically outperformed the market after risk adjustments.

Hedge fund interest in Bank of Marin Bancorp (NASDAQ:BMRC) shares was flat at the end of last quarter, although the stock was not very popular among the funds we track, which could be explained by the company’s small size and the stock’s high volatility. At the end of this article we will also compare BMRC to other stocks including The Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:TBBK), NQ Mobile Inc (ADR) (NYSE:NQ), and Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corp. (NYSE:AGM) to get a better sense of its popularity.

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Now, let’s review the key action encompassing Bank of Marin Bancorp (NASDAQ:BMRC).

What have hedge funds been doing with Bank of Marin Bancorp (NASDAQ:BMRC)?

At the end of the third quarter, a total of 4 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 0% from the second quarter. With hedgies’ sentiment swirling, there exists a select group of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were increasing their stakes considerably (or already accumulated large positions).

Among the funds we track, Matthew Lindenbaum’s Basswood Capital holds the largest stake in Bank of Marin Bancorp, reporting a $12.70 million position in its latest 13F filing. On the second spot is Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies, which owns $3.2 million worth of stock. Significantly behind is John Overdeck and David Siegel’s Two Sigma Advisors with a $0.3 million position held as of the end of September.

Earlier we told you that the aggregate hedge fund interest in the stock was unchanged and we view this as a negative development. Even though there weren’t any hedge funds dumping their holdings during the third quarter, there weren’t any hedge funds initiating brand new positions. This indicates that hedge funds, at the very best, perceive this stock as dead money and they haven’t identified any viable catalysts that can attract investor attention.

Let’s check out hedge fund activity in other stocks – not necessarily in the same industry as Bank of Marin Bancorp (NASDAQ:BMRC) but similarly valued. These stocks are The Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:TBBK), NQ Mobile Inc (ADR) (NYSE:NQ), Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corp. (NYSE:AGM), and Exar Corporation (NASDAQ:EXAR). This group of stocks’ market valuations match BMRC’s market valuation.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
TBBK 11 49706 -5
NQ 8 8165 -3
AGM 6 7167 -1
EXAR 12 51749 -5

As you can see these stocks had an average of 9 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $29 million. That figure was $17 million in BMRC’s case. Exar Corporation (NASDAQ:EXAR) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corp. (NYSE:AGM) is the least popular one with only 6 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks Bank of Marin Bancorp (NASDAQ:BMRC) is even less popular than AGM. Considering that hedge funds aren’t fond of this stock in relation to other companies analyzed in this article, it may be a good idea to analyze it in detail and understand why the smart money isn’t behind this stock. This isn’t necessarily bad news. Although it is possible that hedge funds may think the stock is overpriced and view the stock as a short candidate, they may not be very familiar with the bullish thesis. In either case more research is warranted.