you're reading...

Cornelius News

SEC on the lookout for insider trading in light of COVID-19

March 24. By Dave Yochum. Soon after US Sen. Richard Burr’s stock sales came to light, the Securities & Exchange Commission has issued guidance around trading on the basis of insider information.

“We wish to emphasize the importance of maintaining market integrity and following corporate controls and procedures. For example, in these dynamic circumstances, corporate insiders are regularly learning new material nonpublic information that may hold an even greater value than under normal circumstances,” the SEC said in a statement.

In addition to Burr (R-NC), three other US Senators have come under scrutiny because their stock sales occurred after a coronavirus briefing: James Inhoffe (R-OK), Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Kelly Loeffler, (R-Ga). The trades occurred before stocks dramatically fell in value due to the coronavirus pandemic—and soon after a private briefing on Jan. 24.

The COVID-19 pandemic has sent the securities markets plunging downward at a stunning pace.

With so many businesses large and small coming to a standstill, earnings reports may be delayed due to COVID-19. The SEC said a greater number of people may have access to material nonpublic information than in less challenging times.

“Those with such access – including, for example, directors, officers, employees, and consultants and other outside professionals – should be mindful of their obligations to keep this information confidential and to comply with the prohibitions on illegal securities trading. Trading in a company’s securities on the basis of inside information may violate the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws,” the SEC said.