Insider Trading Investigators Have a Blind Spot

News

Over the past year, a record 266 companies have spun off divisions in a trend bankers are calling “Spinmania.” If history is any guide, about 35 of those deals will have leaked undetected to inside traders.

A new study by a team of finance professors suggests one in eight corporate spinoffs and divestments in the U.S. between 1996 and the end of 2013 was preceded by suspicious trading in options markets. The Securities and Exchange Commission hasn’t brought a single case relating to such trading then or since, according to the report, due to be published later this month. 

... Spinoffs are when a company divests part of its business, usually via a sale or distribution of new shares, to create a new company. Patrick Augustin of McGill University in Montreal, Subrahmanyam and Menachem Brenner of NYU Stern and Jianfeng Hu of Singapore Management University analyzed trading in stocks, options, bonds and credit default swaps ahead of 426 such deals in the 18 years to December 2013.

Read full article:BloombergBusiness, March 4, 2015.