GameStop and the Challenges of Monitoring Communication Channels

Many of the early news stories about the runup in the price of GameStop shares earlier this year focused on the ability of retail investors to collaborate and cause a short squeeze for sophisticated hedge funds. The true story was less of a David and Goliath tale, according to the speakers at a recent program presented by regulatory compliance technology firm ComplySci. Notably, one of the key players was registered with FINRA and employed by MassMutual, raising questions about whether MassMutual was aware of its employee’s outside activities, as well as his use of Reddit and other communication channels. The program, which featured Robert A. Cruz, vice president at communications software firm Smarsh Inc., and Amy Kadomatsu, ComplySci’s CEO, looked at the conditions that gave rise to, and the lessons from, the GameStop surge, as well as how firms can manage the ever-growing number of available communication channels. This article highlights the speakers’ insights. See our three-part series on electronic communications: “SEC Takes Steps to Drill Down” (Nov. 30, 2017); “Information Request List Provides Insight Into SEC Expectations on the Use by Advisers and Employees” (Dec. 7, 2017); and “Six Key Issues to Address in Policies and Guidance on Preparing for Future Scrutiny” (Dec. 14, 2017).

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