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Should You Buy Hanmi Financial Corp (NASDAQ:HAFC)? – First Interstate Bancsystem Inc (NASDAQ:FIBK), Central Pacific Financial Corp. (NYSE:CPF)

Hanmi Financial Corp (NASDAQ:HAFC) was in 11 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of December. HAFC investors should be aware of an increase in support from the world’s most elite money managers lately. There were 10 hedge funds in our database with HAFC holdings at the end of the previous quarter.

Hanmi Financial Corp (NASDAQ:HAFC)

In today’s marketplace, there are dozens of metrics investors can use to track Mr. Market. Some of the most underrated are hedge fund and insider trading movement. At Insider Monkey, our research analyses have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the top fund managers can beat the S&P 500 by a superb margin (see just how much).

Equally as important, bullish insider trading activity is another way to break down the investments you’re interested in. As the old adage goes: there are a variety of stimuli for an executive to get rid of shares of his or her company, but just one, very clear reason why they would buy. Many academic studies have demonstrated the useful potential of this strategy if piggybackers know what to do (learn more here).

With all of this in mind, it’s important to take a gander at the recent action regarding Hanmi Financial Corp (NASDAQ:HAFC).

Hedge fund activity in Hanmi Financial Corp (NASDAQ:HAFC)

Heading into 2013, a total of 11 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of 10% from one quarter earlier. With the smart money’s sentiment swirling, there exists an “upper tier” of key hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes substantially.

According to our comprehensive database, Ken Gray and Steve Walsh’s Bryn Mawr Capital had the most valuable position in Hanmi Financial Corp (NASDAQ:HAFC), worth close to $9 million, comprising 0.8% of its total 13F portfolio. Coming in second is Sirios Capital Management, managed by John Brennan, which held a $4 million position; 0.1% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Remaining hedge funds that are bullish include Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies, John Overdeck and David Siegel’s Two Sigma Advisors and Sander Gerber’s Hudson Bay Capital Management.

Consequently, specific money managers have been driving this bullishness. Hudson Bay Capital Management, managed by Sander Gerber, initiated the most valuable position in Hanmi Financial Corp (NASDAQ:HAFC). Hudson Bay Capital Management had 1 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group also made a $1 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The only other fund with a brand new HAFC position is Mark A. Nordlicht’s Platinum Management.

What have insiders been doing with Hanmi Financial Corp (NASDAQ:HAFC)?

Insider buying is best served when the company in focus has seen transactions within the past half-year. Over the last 180-day time period, Hanmi Financial Corp (NASDAQ:HAFC) has experienced zero unique insiders buying, and 1 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s also take a look at hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Hanmi Financial Corp (NASDAQ:HAFC). These stocks are TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ:TCBK), First Interstate Bancsystem Inc (NASDAQ:FIBK), Cascade Bancorp (NASDAQ:CACB), Central Pacific Financial Corp. (NYSE:CPF), and West Coast Bancorp (NASDAQ:WCBO). This group of stocks are in the regional – pacific banks industry and their market caps are closest to HAFC’s market cap.

Company Name # of Hedge Funds # of Insiders Buying # of Insiders Selling
TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ:TCBK) 4 0 1
First Interstate Bancsystem Inc (NASDAQ:FIBK) 4 2 8
Cascade Bancorp (NASDAQ:CACB) 3 0 0
Central Pacific Financial Corp. (NYSE:CPF) 9 0 0
West Coast Bancorp (NASDAQ:WCBO) 9 0 0

With the results exhibited by Insider Monkey’s strategies, retail investors must always watch hedge fund and insider trading activity, and Hanmi Financial Corp (NASDAQ:HAFC) is an important part of this process.

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