How Much Insider Trading Happens in Stock Markets?

Substantial regulatory and enforcement resources are spent combatting insider trading in financial markets. In 2020 alone, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) employed approximately 1,300 staff members in its Enforcement Division and committed $550 million in resources to investigating and prosecuting illegal insider trading.   While it is clear that insider trading occurs, opinions vary significantly as to the […]

COVID-19 and The Credit Cycle: Revisited and 2021 Outlook

We are now one year into the global health and economic crisis caused by Covid-19, and its toxic impact on society continues. Before examining the virus’ impact on the credit cycle, it is imperative to first understand where credit markets were prior to this crisis. Analyzing that environment will help us to evaluate the immediate […]

Democratizing of Free Markets’ Mission Failed

The democratization of finance is the self-proclaimed noble cause that Robinhood1 is pursuing by enabling commission-free investing for everyone. However, recent events revealed that the old saying “if it’s free, you are the product,“ has been successfully implemented in the retail investment world. In this article, we cover the recent GameStop fiasco, Robinhood’s business model, and what it means for a modern retail investor.  GameStop Fiasco  It all started with GameStop (NYSE: GME), a US video game retailer, […]

CEO-to-employee pay ratio and CEO diversity

Concerns about income inequality and supposed CEO rent extraction motivated the enaction of Section 953(b) of Dodd-Frank Act. The SEC issued new rules to implement 953(b) in 2015 and they became effective in 2017.  The rules require public companies to disclose their median employee pay and its ratio to CEO pay. The CEO-to-employee pay ratio increased 1000% in the last 40 years according to Economic Policy Institute, […]

117th Congress Begins by Protecting Whistleblowers 

This post first appeared on the Climate Risk Disclosure Lab’s website.  As the 117th Congress commences, the United States is facing several immense and immediate challenges: the COVID-19 pandemic, its resulting economic crisis, and climate change among them. Against this backdrop, the House of Representatives has made protecting whistleblowers one of their first legislative actions.    Every Congress starts by passing rules that all members and staff must abide by. This year, the House rules for the 117th Congress, contained in House Res. 8, included provisions concerning whistleblowers.  In response […]

CEO Activism and Firm Value

In recent years, it has become increasingly common for corporate leaders to speak out on hot-button social and political issues. CEOs like Tim Cook (Apple) and Marc Benioff (Salesforce) have expressed their views in support of LGBTQ rights, Satya Nadella (Microsoft) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) have been outspoken on immigration, and Bob Iger (Walt Disney) […]

Current State of Research on Factor Investing in Government Bonds

Factor investing has grown in popularity over the last few decades, especially with respect to equity markets. After extending Fama-French factors to corporate bond markets, recent research has more often concentrated on the government bond space and revealed that there is indeed clear empirical evidence for the existence of significant government bond factors. Voices that […]

Personnel is Policy: Changes of Agency Leadership under a Biden-Harris Administration

The outcome of recent national elections will result in a change of Administration and control of both houses of Congress by the Administration’s political party. As a result, there will be a change in national policy and in the leadership of the agencies that will oversee and enforce it. This post will review currently announced and potential changes to the leadership of Federal agencies that exercise supervisory and regulatory power regarding financial services and housing and the policy […]

The Long Shadow Beyond Lockdown: Board Chairs’ Professional Epidemic Experience and Corporate Investment

The coronavirus pandemic has caused great damage to the global economy, due to the disease itself and the subsequent local and country-wide lockdowns to contain it. While recent investigations have focused on the short-term impact of COVID-19 and the lockdowns, the long-term impact, especially the ways that epidemic experience affects managerial decision making, has received […]

Danske Bank Money Laundering Case Study

Courtesy of Lee Reiners and Joseph A. Smith Jr. This case study draws primarily—and in some instances quotes verbatim—from the “Report on the Non-Resident Portfolio at Danske Bank’s Estonian Branch” prepared for the Bank on September 19, 2018, by the law firm Bruun & Hjejle.[1] Additional details are derived from other sources, including Danske Bank […]