Trading fever: COVID-19 and the prohibition of insider dealing

A guest post by Michiel Stuyts

The new corona virus affects all aspects of our lives. As law reflects human activity, so does COVID-19 raise questions in virtually all legal domains. Securities law is no exception. Due to the threat that the virus poses for financial market stability, short selling is being temporarily banned left and right[1] and is monitored more strictly[2] and supervisory authorities have started warning against fraudulent schemes attempting to profit from ongoing market volatility[3]. As regards market abuse, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is well aware of the risk that the new corona virus poses for insider dealing and has stated that “issuers should disclose as soon as possible any relevant significant information concerning the impacts of COVID-19 on their fundamentals, prospects or financial situation in accordance with their transparency obligations under the Market Abuse Regulation”[4]. However, due to the pervasive nature of the virus and the drastic extent of governmental measures taken to combat it, it seems that the market abuse risk lies not so much with individual issuers and their shares but is rather elevated to a wholly different level.

Recently newspapers have reported that certain US senators have dumped their personal stock in January and February 2020 before the severity of the virus’ consequences on the US health system, economy and stock market became clear to the public[5]. Some of the senators reportedly received private briefings about the virus from administration officials. All the while, President Trump confirmed his confidence in the stock market through his favourite social media outlet[6]. Calls for the senators’ resignation due to alleged insider dealing grow increasingly loud. It is unclear how the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will tackle this matter, if at all.

It is interesting to assess the case from an EU law perspective. Continue reading “Trading fever: COVID-19 and the prohibition of insider dealing”

Insider trading onder de MAR: streng, maar (ook) rechtvaardig?

Post door gastbloggers Stefan Mees en Michiel Stuyts over hun bijdrage in TRV-RPS

Het MAR-tijdperk

Met de inwerkingtreding van de Market Abuse Regulation (hierna “MAR”) op 3 juli 2016 brak een nieuw tijdperk aan binnen de regels met betrekking tot het marktmisbruik. Bij dergelijke juridische omwenteling, is het opportuun om bestaande en nieuwe reglementering te (her)bekijken in een gewijzigde maatschappelijke en juridische context. Continue reading “Insider trading onder de MAR: streng, maar (ook) rechtvaardig?”

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