The plunging S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) which has endured a horrendous start to the 2016 calendar year would appear to have encouraged some fund managers to take some risk off the table.

SAI Global Limited (ASX: SAI) is a leading supplier of standards and compliance procedures to businesses both domestically and overseas. The share price ended flat in 2015 and highly-regarded fund manager Paradice Investment Management has sold down below the 5% substantial shareholder threshold.

Listed fund manager Australian Ethical Investments Limited (ASX: AEF) enjoyed a stellar 2015 with its share price gaining close to 50%. The group recently lodged a notice stating that the fund manager had ceased to be a substantial shareholder in financial services software provider GBST Holdings Limited (ASX: GBT).

Fellow listed fund manager Perpetual Limited (ASX: PPT) decided to sell down its holding in private health insurer NIB Holdings Limited (ASX: NHF). At one point Perpetual held a stake of over 10% in NIB. However as of January 5 the group was no longer a substantial holder.

It hasn’t been a particularly good start to listed life for online homewares and furniture retailer TEMPLE WEB FPO (ASX: TPW). After floating at $1.10, the shares are currently changing hands for 76 cents. Leading fund manager Bennelong appears to have changed its view on the stock with the manager recently ceasing to be a substantial holder.

Meanwhile, Bennelong appears to be positive on the outlook for entertainment and leisure business Ardent Leisure Group (ASX: AAD). After a rocky 2015 which saw the group’s share price lose around 20% it’s possible that some value has emerged. Bennelong, presumably sees upside from these levels with the group increasing its stake to 5.2%.

There is a stock market saying which advises that insiders can have many reasons for selling shares in their company but only one reason for buying.

In many ways this too could be a fair warning when observing movements on the share register by outside investors too.

There could indeed be a number of reasons why a fund manager sells shares in a company, including to meet unit holder redemptions, due to a macro view of the market, or to take profits.

In contrast, there is arguably only one reason why a stock picking fund manager will buy shares in a company—because he or she believes they will go up!

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur owns shares in Perpetual Limited. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.