The course of a ship is set by the captain. During this phase, we want to determine who the owners and key managers are. Is the company still run by its founders? Or has management and the board shuffled in a lot of new personalities? The age of the company is a big factor here, as younger companies tend to have more of the founding members still around. We look at bios of top managers to see what kind of broad experiences they have and explore their past performances.
We look at whether or not the founders and managers hold a high proportion of shares, and what amount of the float is held by institutions. Institutional ownership percentages indicate how much analyst coverage the company is getting, as well as factors influencing trade volumes. Shareholders tend to be best served when the people running the company have a vested interest.