On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is conducting an investigation into Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs launched by the US Department of Justice. The main issue is whether financial executives might have warned hedge funds about large stock sales ("block trades"), which violates the regulations.
The participants of the investigation give no comments.
Broker-dealers tend to act on behalf of clients or using a hedging strategy (a method of insuring assets against negative market trends). They buy and sell large blocks of shares, and this can affect the company's stock prices. This process is especially active during periods of volatility, when portfolios are being rebalanced.
If such valuable information is obtained in advance, it may have a great impact on the market. Companies should adjust processes preventing the misuse of nonpublic information. Otherwise, it could violate U.S. laws.
As the WSJ reports, the SEC has sent subpoenas to some hedge funds and banks requesting information about investors' interaction with bankers. It is also mentioned that investigations into block trades irregularities began in 2019.
It is being investigated if bankers revealed non-public information to some privileged clients. If such incidents become known, they will find out how this information may have affected some funds that are " liquidity providers" for Wall Street companies.