Understanding and Mitigating Risks Associated With Trading Driven by Social Media

Trading influenced largely by online discussion boards recently resulted in extraordinary swings in the price of GameStop shares, huge windfalls for some retail investors and massive losses for fund managers that had shorted GameStop. A recent panel at the Morgan Lewis Annual Advanced Topics in Hedge Fund Practices Conference analyzed the risks associated with retail investment activity driven by social media and commission-free trades, including the GameStop volatility; associated market disruptions; potential regulatory response; and the implications for both fund managers and broker-dealers. The program featured Morgan Lewis partners Amy Natterson Kroll and Timothy W. Levin. This article outlines the principal elements of their presentation. For further insights from Kroll, see “MiFID II May Have Significant Ramifications on Research Payments Involving U.S. Managers With Cross-Border Operations” (Jul. 27, 2017). For additional commentary from Levin, see “Growing SEC Enforcement of Hedge Fund Managers Requires Greater Focus on Cybersecurity and Financial Disclosure” (Jul. 7, 2016).

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