The wild west days of social networking as a platform for stock tips and under the radar information exchange may be coming to an end. Or at least FINRA is finally realizing that there is more to stock manipulation than meets the eye, and in a radical change in policy (which up to now had been non-existent on the matter), FINRA will start policing and pouring through tweets, after announcing that "securities firms must keep copies of all business-related communications on social networks, whether those communications are official or from associated persons." Yet indicating just how woefully behind the times the SEC's much-feebler cousin is, FINRA has admitted that "the technology to grab those messages might not exist." The reason why FINRA should be concerned, as Securities Industry News highlights is that "Every Wall Street company – except possibly the smallest ones – have employees using social networks, creating potential liability problems for their employers, for whom they might not be speaking. However, many firms are also actively using these new platforms themselves, to reach out to customers, the general public, and potential new recruits."
FINRA Initiates Probe Into Goldman's "Trading Huddle" And Comparable Practices By Other Wall Street FirmsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/17/2009 18:53 -0500
Could it be that the regulators are finally set on doing the one thing they are paid to do, i.e. regulatoring? Perhaps, especially when they are presented with all the data on a silver platter, as the WSJ did some time ago. The same WSJ reports that FINRA has now started a probe into the practice known as "trading huddles" which is merely another phrase for providing the best, most actionable data to one's preferential clients, and also a very politically correct and polite way of allegedly endorsing front-running.
We know you are busy, we also know you are hell bent on intercepting IOI manipulation as per Mr. Jon Kroeper's recent media appearances. Which is why we kindly request that you get back to us at your earliest convenience with information on how many of the IOIs disclosed below are, in fact, "natural." We will make this a recurring topic on Zero Hedge until such time as you respond to our information request. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We appreciate your prompt attention to the matter
Zero Hedge staff.
One of Zero Hedge's recurring concerns with market abuse has been the concept of manipulated natural Indications of Interest, or IOIs, a topic which readers can catch up on here and here. And yes, absent feedback from regulators this could have added to the ever increasing list of conspiracy theories broached by Zero Hedge. Yet ironically shortly after Zero Hedge first posted on this, FINRA came out with the following regulatory notice 09-28 from May 2009, in which the regulator "reminded firms of their obligation to provide accurate information in disseminating indications of interest."
JP Morgan Enjoying FINRA's Recently Amended Conflict-Enhancing Quiet Period In Upgrading MB FinancialSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/15/2009 11:24 -0500
There was a time when FINRA did some good things. It did mostly useless things, and was glaringly incompetent in even those, but on occasion it would do something proper, at least when moderating analyst conflicts of interest. Then the crash came, and all bets were off. Interestingly, in October 2008, a month after the bottom came off the market, and when the kitchen sink was being thrown at stocks in order to prevent further collapse, FINRA lost the last shred of interventionist integrity it had when it decided to abolish the so-called quiet period for research actions subsequent to a follow-on offering. Yesterday, JP Morgan was more than happy to take advantage of this last shred of regulatory decency collapsing by the wayside, as more and more synergies of the SEC-Wall Street merger become effectuated.
Everyone's favorite Indications Of Interest (IOIA function in BBerg) is about to come under some serious regulatory fire.