Surveys Give Big Investors an Early View From Analysts

Polling analysts on their outlooks for a given company has become a way for large Wall Street firms to discover trading advantages from information that might not be public yet.

Comments: 187

  1. This is exactly why we created, to give buy side and independent analysts who don't have the same conflicts of interest and regulatory issues as the sell side the ability to share their earnings estimates and models. It's time that the financial community had an open sourced resource where anyone can contribute and view data.

  2. Are analysts offered an honorarium as an incentive to participate in the surveys?

  3. Is anyone surprised at this news?

  4. We know the system is rigged. The evidence is overwhelming. The only question is whether or not anything will be done about it. I'm not optimistic.

  5. We're doing something about it right now, by making the sell side guys irrelevant at Estimize. The information is already out there on the buy side and in the independent analyst community, there just hasn't been a way for everyone to access that pool of knowledge until now with Estimize.

  6. Are federal banking and market regulators part of the problem, or part of the solution. Wall Street business practices continue to undermine confidence in the capital markets that is key to job creation and economic growth.

    Here's your chance to tell Congress to step up oversight of all federal banking and market regulators to enforce fair and equitable capital markets:

  7. I appreciate being able to reply to this NYT Pick comment by Glassyeyed of Indiana, because I did not get offered the same privilege with respect to the NYT Pick comment by Rob of NYC. This naturally evokes my asking, and presumably others also, the question 'why?'. The issue is indeed when something will be done that will put an end to the robbery by insider trading. I cannot imagine anything being effective other than a few scores of high-profile people being jailed for the remainder of their rotten lives.

    Perhaps that's what the next US presidential election is coming to be about.

  8. Having early information represents democratic "meritocracy" and a "free market," as espoused by Libertarians and the GOP?

    It doesn't sound like a rigged system to me.

  9. It has been clear to me since the .com boom that the game was rigged against small investors. Nothing has changed. Nothing will change until we demand campaign finance reform.

  10. CARLA: You are right, but the demand must be in the form of ACTION, not words!

  11. How is this not illegal?? If it is not illegal, it is still un-just. So the Masters of the Universe get their super powers from the fact that they get privileged information before anyone else. How is this not creating an unjust society? So, the financial system is rigged, what a surprise.

  12. It's not illegal because the laws are bought by these guys!

  13. as another poster noted, a 3 year old could make money given this type of info.

    What did Martha Stewart go to jail for? A piddly amount of gain. If she went to jail for comparatively minor insider trading, these guys should get hard time breaking rocks or something.

  14. If ten people, who broke the law, were convicted and sent to jail, for a long time, and became somebody's girlfriend, this would all end...immediately.

  15. "News" for the Naive.

  16. ...yet one more instance of a unit of Barclays being a trend-setter in cutting-edge industry practices...

  17. To Splenetix: No serious person will take your blanket statements at face value...such comments add nothing to the discussion and lead nowhere near to a solution to the problem.

  18. This article provides one more affirmation that Wall Street provides special resources to insiders and that the game is fixed.

    Apparently, large hedge funds submit questionnaires to analysts about pending changes in their opinion, surprising new developments and other questions that try to get information before the general public. Of course, this information lets these funds predict whether or not a stock is a good investment by using these opinions to guide their buying decisions.

    Occupy Wall Street may be physically gone, but its influence is still being felt. When we read stories like these, or rate-fixing scandals, or Chase Bank losing six billion dollars of depositors funds, we become more cynical and more convinced that Wall Street is for the one percent, not the 99 percent.

    The Times continues its excellent investigative journalism with this story, making it impossible for Wall Street not to act to protect the fairness of the game. Because if the small investor is convinced that the results are rigged, he will stop participating, and Wall Street has come to rely on my small investors for its profits.

    How the Republicans can say that Wall Street is over-regulated is beyond me, but it is clear that should they be elected to the Presidency and win the Senate, it is the financial titans who will be in charge. (Go to for other New York Times blogs.)

  19. Chase did not lose one cent of depositors' funds. Period.

  20. Firstly, it is true that Wall Street is for the 1%, just like any other business is. Somebody who is a janitor isn't working for the 99%, he's working for himself. Wall Street investors just happen to be extremely talented and hard-working and involved in a profitable field (and yes, sometimes they are crooked and criminal, too). To suggest that Wall Street is for the 1% is a completely factual statement, but one that should not be burdened by negative sentiments. Plenty of workers on Wall Street earn an honest living in order provide a better life for themselves and their families.

  21. To Rob in NYC: Your "Ethics Meter" is broken and you clearly don't grasp the concept of the "99%". Participation in a corrupt system taints all involved. No one on Wall Street is making an "honest living". Grow up and open your eyes, your mind, your heart.

  22. Central to the concept of a level playing field on Wall Street is what analysts tell investors about the companies they follow - and when. But, trawling for analysts’ shifting views is systematic and growing, disclosure is uneven and regulation is spotty. Yikes! It is not a pretty picture.

    "Through the forces of our system of US capitalism, they have mastered the rules of the game, manipulating them both within and outside the bounds of the law where necessary. ... These wealthy few are strong swimmers, controlling the flow of capital spending upon which the American economic structure is based. ... In short, the precious few who are swimming in a river of wealth control the myriad of rules and regulations which were designed to ensure a level playing field for all citizens."


  23. The BlackRock spokesman's defense is hilariously disingenuous. If these companies weren't getting valuable inside information from these surveys, why would they be paying for them?

    And they should call that payment what it really is: a kickback.

    Hopefully the S.E.C. will take action and fine or jail the people behind yet another Wall Street scam -- but does anyone actually think that will happen? Take the lesson: Wall Street is rigged.

  24. READER: Good comment. I bet the SEC "investigation" (laughter!) will be done by the "investigators" who did NOT get Bernie M to accept their resumes!

  25. It's not enough that unregulated capitalism is devouring pensions, jobs, the environment and social services? I guess not. Now we find out that the entire game has been rigged by the .0001% against the rest of us. I am pleased the "Occupy" movement brought this nightmare of inequality and crime to the nation's attention. Now I want to see handcuffs on the perps and regulations sailing through our demented, lobbyist controlled Congress.

  26. The financial leech-crooks won't be arrested - the NYC cops andthose in other big ctis are too busy arresting Occupy demonstrators who are LEGALLY demonstrating.

    There must be a hedgefund trading in law enforcement agencies!

  27. Hey, SEC, is prima facie evidence of insider trader trading not good enough to gain a wholesale conviction of the criminal class on Wall Street ?

    Stop investigating SEC; check the fundraising records of the Republican and Democratic parties - most of the insider traders and thier lobbyists are conveniently listed on their campaign contribution rosters.

    This is corruption at the highest levels of national government, all caused by the criminal filthy rich, whose sense of criminal entitlement knows no end..

  28. The markets are rigged and the small time investor always gets shortchanged.

  29. The parties on both sides of this game have cohorts of highly-paid, very smart lawyers making very close decisions on the legality of their activities. These people will always be smarter and faster than the regulators, and we can only hope too smart for their own good.

  30. This compelling investigation affirms what we fear: following on reports about (Libor) interest rates being rigged, equities' prices are rigged.

    What remains unanswered here is whether:

    (1) Hedge funds' obtaining and trading on analysts' "hunches"--if that is what their non-public information is called--is illegal?

    (2) Conversely, is it illegal for the analysts to disclose their "hunches" to hedge funds?

    (3) If either activity is illegal, who isn't enforcing the law and why not?

    But beyond that, this investigation demonstrates that for private investors "perfect information" and "level playing field" are myths.

    (4) Does that make private investing a fool’s errand except for long term and therefore, perhaps, in large cap companies?

  31. This article is especially scary when you consider the amount of money Americans have invested in equties through their IRA's. In the stock market, one person's loss is another's gain. If the hedge fund industry is "skimming" profits as described in this article, the money is coming out of our pockets.

  32. the truth is that small investors do not belong in the stock market nor most of the institutions - unless you have inside solid relationship you are wasting time and money - no amount of regulations will solve that problem - there are a handful of parties that should be trading with each other especially in new issues - let them cut the distribution so only those parties play rather than use the small players and institutions not on the inside for cannon fodder

    if you dont want to be fleeced - dont play!

  33. Nice report. Evidence and paper trails are good.
    Hedge fund managers cheat? Oh heavens! Say it is not so!

    Tax the Rich like Ike.

  34. As a Republican on the fence for the November election this story tips the scales. A Republican win would only give more to the big players at the expense of everyone else. I hope Obama has the will to take these issues on.

  35. Special Prosecutor Eliot Spitzer.

    Yes, I know he's got a sleazy past (and many have pointed out that in the midst of a culture of Wall Street sleaze, he's the only one who got public humiliation)

    But he's beholden to no one and has nothing to lose.

  36. With the help of newly elected Massachusetts US Senator Elizabeth Warren. I also wish to see heads roll. I tell you, my sentiments will be exactly the same as the French peasants that surrounded the Bastille in 1789.

  37. My three year old niece could make money in the stock market if she had the type of information that Barclay's et al get from these "surveys" and other sources.

    As if we didn't already know, the execs at public companies are complicit to the banks, the banks are complicit to the funds, and the politicians are complicit to all of them. While regulators have scored a few inside trading convictions and pleas recently, they continue to be severely outgunned and outmanned, and the culture of Wall Street continues to stink.

  38. Then invest with Barclay's et al...simple solution

  39. One of the people interviewed by the NYT for this story is quoted referring to the "high ethical standards" of his firm, affiliated with Barclay's.

    How can he say that with a straight face?

    Further proof that the game is entirely rigged against the "public."

  40. Wall Street is a casino with rigged tables, marked cards, and relies on the greater fool theory for its existence. Regulation has been as much a fantasy as job creators.

  41. I just cannot take it anymore!!! Where are the prosecutions? WHERE ARE THE PERP WALKS?

    Why is it the rest of America goes to jail for every little thing on earth, but anything having to do with the manipulation of world markets or lying and cheating in the financial world goes unpunished?


    We have two candidates both bought and sold by Wall Street while the middle class dies. That's what every reporter, newspaper and citizen should be talking about!

  42. Of course the game is fixed--and I am conflicted. On the one hand, since I as a retired Pa. teacher who is a member of a large pension fund, I want that fund to get every break possible. On the other hand as a single investor I may get information late. I think I benefit most if my pension fund succeeds. This points up the need for everyone be be part of a large pension unit--think social security run privately.

  43. If it was "for everyone" why on earth would it be run "privately"? Makes no sense, handing our money to profit-makers. Please.

  44. Every other commenter here notes that this isn't news to them. The financial world is rigged for the benefit of the few. So, it seems to me that the NYT must have known, too. Why then has there not been years of investigative reporting to uncover the truth? Could it be a lack of funds to underwrite the effort? Could it be a corporate decision not to rock the boat unless a major scandal erupts? We expect more from you!

  45. This is not news. Insider trading has been going on from the very beginning. I knew smart people, who could, sometimes, catch a hint of the yoyo game and profit by buying low and selling high but not testing the limits set by the insiders.

    Doesn't anybody think it's strange that there is a puff of good news and the market goes up by one percent or more and then falls back after all the suckers buy in?

    This is just another example of the distortions of Capitalism that MUST be reigned in by, yes, REGULATION!

  46. When are the 99% going to wake up and realize for once and for all that the 1% don't possess any special powers or work harder. Instead they have gamed the system.

    The 1% are not the job creators, they are the robber barons of the 21st century.

  47. For the most part, the 1% probably did and do work a lot harder than most in the 99%. Not true as a blanket statement, but success doesn't always create itself.

  48. DAGMAR20: Very good comment.

  49. Rob, please get back to your trading - your imitation of an objective commenter is hopelessly inadequate.....

  50. It is no surprise that Wall Street has always been rigged to favor the insiders, just as casinos are built to make a profit, not to make bettors rich. What we see on Wall Street is another example of the so-called "free market," where everyone is supposed to have an equal chance. Ha! Any reasonably smart small investor should know that the game is rigged. While the hedge fund guys reap their billions, the little guys are just happy to get the crumbs.

  51. Well, now that Congressmen can no longer engage in insider trading maybe they'll crack down on hedge funds engaging in the same. But I doubt it. Congress specializes in loopholes. Too much money flows from Wall Street to K Street. Campaigns are require serious money in order to maintain a professional political class with a 99% reelection rate. Meanwhile the retirement savings the average Joe Investor put into his S&P 500 index fund 13 years ago haven't made a dime. But investment banks have made out like bandits and the misdeeds of the financial meltdown have gone unpunished except in the most egregious cases. I wish I was more apathetic. I'd be happier.

  52. There are two issues here.

    First, are company insiders giving these analysts non-public information-perhaps in hope of getting a favorable recommendation by the analyst's firm? If so, this is clearly a securities violation.

    Second, if the analyst's research is based solely on publically available information, does the investment firm (a private company) have an obligation to NOT diseminate "market moving" information to a select group of hedge funds before the same information is made available to the general public? It's unclear to me why this would be illegal. Maybe it should be, but it isn't.

    The spotlight was shone on this practice in the Facebook IPO, but I had to laugh when I saw the mainstream press's expression of indignation at something that has been going on for years right under their eyes. The whole system's rigged against the "little guy" and anyone who thinks it isn't is just naive. Moral of the story: put your money in Black Rock products.

  53. "A spokesman for the S.E.C. declined to comment" alludes to the fetid swamp that our tax funded watchdog agency was charged to keep free of alligators. The only encouraging note is that the NYT has Gretchen Moregenson on their payroll.

    Ever since the repeal of Glass-Steagall we have read more and more of how Wall Street firms have skewed the playing field and how a submissive S.E.C.
    goes along to get along.

    This piece of reporting exposes another brick in the wall of deceit surrounding the banksters and their enablers.

  54. Wall Street's best investment is its 100% ownership of the Republicans in Congress. Throw in a few Democrats as a hedge (pun intended). What the banks are getting away with here is just one more example of the lack of effective oversight of the financial world. Notice that one of Mitt Romney's main talking points is that the economy is being slowed by excessive regulation. He means to loosen the reigns even more. For all the talk about the wonders of free markets, there is little concern about protecting the integrity of those markets.

  55. " . . . appear to be giving . . . " and "' . . . level playing field on Wall Street . . . " are both doubletalk notions for what those Corrupt Capitalists have been doing and what they will continue to do, and the only thing level on Wall Street is the level of the buildings that were built into them from the engineering factors that are meant to keep them from falling over.

    Otherwise, everything on Corrupt Wall Street and with the Corrupt monied hedge-fund investors and the totally Corrupt Banking Empires of the on-the-way-down-to-the-bottom Facist Uninted States is busines-as-usual.

    The Corrupt United States is in the process of imploding and nothing will stop that process.

  56. Ah yes, the "free market" at work.
    Well, it wasn't like banksters had any integrity, anyway.

  57. In order to put this issue into context, an adult conversation is required about how capital markets work, how they are regulated and how information is used on Wall Street. The short answer is that the incentives of price, profit and ownership are always at work encouraging players in capital markets to achieve an information advantage and trade on it. Any regulatory framework will gamed right to the edge and sometimes over it of any "insider trading" laws in existence. The answer is to instead have truly free capital markets in which individual and small investors aren't lulled into a false sense of security by an inherently unworkable regulatory framework. Such investors might decline to participate or put pressure on companies (not traders) to protect their information more carefully, or share it more widely instead of complying with the privileged access that the current system gives investment "analysts" at institutional brokerage firms.

    But I know this kind of thinking doesn't appeal to class warriors who can only see free markets as exploitative and needing more regulation, even as every step of regulation they take fails. Sigh...

  58. Self-serving non-sense. People who desire fairness are class warriors? Your concern notion that regulations might be ineffective because people will always look for ways to skirt them is solved by enforcement, not by looking the other way. Cheats and thieves need to go to jail, my friend.

  59. No one is talking about free markets, their talking about criminals gaming the system for their own greed. It has nothing to do with the companies that are the objects.

    And name calling "class warriers" is getting old.

  60. Well said Glenn. Your assertion that "an adult conversation" is required is true on the capital markets front, as well as in the overall big picture. Many want to crucify those in the 1% because of the actions of some corrupt people. Most of those prowling these comment sections seem incapable of having an adult conversation or making an concessions to opposing arguments. Until silly viewpoints that all 1%-ers are "cheats and thieves" go away, no progress will be made.

  61. The corporate directorship we have now is many times more interlocked than it was when the Sherman Anti-Trust Act was enacted. Perhaps this law has been forgotten because it was never really enforced.

  62. The Masters of Capitalism are singularly destroying capitalism. When they put the final nail in the coffin, they may be surprised, but I will not. As a matter of fact, I am rooting for the day. Enough is enough. Democratic socialism here we come.

  63. I noticed an article last week that said that $15 BILLION had been taken out of the markets by investors who just don't trust these criminals. More needs to be removed.

  64. Perhaps we should just conclude that the culture of the financial industry simply makes it impossible for them to handle themselves in a way that treats everyone fairly. They just aren't up to it, can't manage it.

    Once we conclude that, we can reinstate Glass-Stegall and remove companies like ING and Valic from the management of retirement accounts (which we are forced to use and on which they make large profits in fees).

    Then we can put a cap (of a much lower rate than is currently charged) on the amount banks can charge for the use of credit cards.

    We don't *have* to live with this behavior. With enough votes, we can SHUT IT DOWN!

  65. This is nothing new and lays bare the argument that hedge funds and their outrageous pay packages are based on superior money and risk management. If all investors had access to the inside information these firms have, most would be "genius" money managers as well.

  66. Thank you Ms. Morgenson. Now if only the AG could figure out how to spell RICO.

  67. The most crooked street in the world is Wall Street. Has been and always will be that way.

  68. Time to put a bunch of these crooks in Jail and break up the other.

    Where's our AG and President in all this mess, why so quiet?

  69. Romney will fix this, once elected. I mean "fix" as in embed it, or make it secure, not as in "repair."

  70. I'm no expert on trading or inside trading. Any institution that takes money for a supposed "hot tip" is breaking the law.People have gone to jail for this kind of preferred status. Both parties are guilty and should be fined and or jailed as well. Banks and the stock market are shifty enough without letting them cheat out in the open.Remember is was the bank cartel that sold Congress their bigest money maker ; The Federal Reserve Bank. Pay more attention to what Congress, The Supreme Court and all the power lobbies are doing to the American taxpayer. The GOP would find no fault with this practice because it is in the quidelines that the corpotrate powers have set for themselves. They call it Capitolism, free trade and wag that dog.
    It is evident the GOP is anti working class, hates giving benefits to those who have paid for them, but care not about giving benefits to illegal aliens. Our unbiased Supreme Court will probably say it is legal because the BIG investers should have an edge on the hedge. After they passed citzens united I'm sure that they are just as bought and controlled by CORPORA,power lobby America. We must remember that the goal of the GOP was to put a lock on any legislation that would help the common man and willfully obstruct the Congress. Is that sedition or treason? We can't have any more of that in these times of economic depair.
    God bless America!

  71. Since pensions have vanished, te rest of us have been forced into this muck by our 401Ks. It is unsettling to think my retirement depends on how well I can chose funds that operate in a system rigged by the richest investors.

  72. Index funds or other passive investing products can mitigate the stock selection risk in a portfolio. They may introduce other risks, but they can address the issues raised in this article. That said, I am not a user of index funds.

  73. Ingrid, I'm sorry to say this, but I think it was Dillinger that said he robbed banks because that's where the money is. Having recognized that the money is

    1.) in your home equity
    2.) in your retirement account

    You've now become the perfect target for white collar criminals to support their lavish life styles.

  74. Some good the "regulations" like FD have done. This is a criminal activity. The information is highly material and non-public. If the SEC doesn't look at this, shut down the activity, and prosecute the parties involved, there will be no doubt among the little guys that the investment business is a rigged game, with the greedy bankers in bed with the regulators. Shameful.

  75. This would be a good time to test whether or not SOX has teeth. I would say that the Government has a huge responsibility in its hands to prosecute people who knowingly broke the law

  76. Free enterprise is supposed to have a level playing field and perfect flow of information available to all so the unseen hand can work its magic in the market. Yet time and again we see that the Masters of the University can only succeed when they manipulate the market to get an edge. Creators of wealth? Creators of jobs? No, just cheats and thiefs How much more evidence do we need?

    Restore regulation; tax the income of hedge fund managers as earned income.

  77. Adam Smith himself warned in Book 8 of The Wealth of Nations that businessmen could not get together in any innocuous social situation without the talk inevitably turning to some conspiracy to rig the market. He knew better than to trust them to behave themselves unpoliced and saw quite clearly their tendency to game the system. He never advocated a free-for-all, anything-goes system and he never trusted human nature.

    It's often forgotten that Smith, who also wrote 'The Theory of Moral Sentiments', was attempting in TWON to justify God's ways to man (ie. himself) - he could not believe a just deity could smile on the rapacity of British imperial mercantilism. If Britain prospered, God must favour it; what could have been His purpose? So, much as, for Christians, God ordained an evil (Jesus' death, which Christians believe was necessary and inevitable) to bring about a greater good (salvation), the 'invisible hand' would move in commerce. And, in both cases, to buy the theory, blind faith must trump reason, observation, and experience.

  78. Caveat emptor. You have a better chance of winning in a crooked poker game than you do in purchasing securities on the open market for appreciation.

  79. Oh are you saying everyone on Wall Street and in the banks are crooks? We know that. All you have to do is read the newspapers and Business Week to get one story after another.

    It's time that laws be written so these people go to jail, not to their $29 Million dollar place on 5th Avenue.

    How can anyone invest with these creeps?

  80. No, it's time you voted for congressmen who will make laws protecting citizens like you and me and will send those crooks to jail. It's people who voted for the likes of Eric Cantor and other Tea Party advocates that are rewarding the Wall Street crooks.

  81. Wall Street cheats? Alert the media.

  82. Sounds like insider trading. And that is criminal, is it not?

    Of course, today on Wall Street the criminals are rewarded, not jailed. Until the jail cells start filling up with these avarice-driven, greedy people, nothing will change.

  83. "...the concept of a level playing field on Wall Street."

    IS LIKE:

    The idea that all men are created equal (e.g. Mitt Romney).

  84. And that Corporations are People.

  85. I think you mean 'systemic' rather than 'systematic'. Either way, bad news, yet again, for the 'little guy'.

  86. Every day, there is another fraud or criminal behavior discovered on Wall Street. Yet, virtually no one since 2008 has gone to jail.
    Who is protecting Wall Street?

  87. Diana, isn't it obvious that Democrats, Republicans, SEC, all US Attorneys who have brought virtually no charges are involved? If there was a break in this solid wall the process would fall like a house of cards.

  88. The recent laws passed on the Hill not to allow members trade based on insider trading, Eric Cantor ensured that "analyst" firms can still obtain insider information and sell them to Wall Street.
    Where does Eric Cantor get his campaign funding? Who does Eric Cantor protect?

  89. Who does Eric Cantor think he is?

  90. To protect their criminal cartel the 1% had government lackeys send heavily armed thug enforcers to beat Occupy protesters with sticks, gas, and arrest them to shut them up.

  91. And if Romney gets elected, this will be standard operating procedure for the next four years. Not a pleasant thought.

  92. We've come a long way from the days when most crooked gamblers could only profit from delays reporting the results of horse races.

  93. Is it any wonder that individual investors are exiting the stock market? The game is rigged, and this was evident to most of us during the dot com boom. These people want you to think they are so smart because of their educational pedigree when all they really have in common is a willingness to cheat.

  94. When a company like Blackrock has over 3 Trillion dollars under management and is involved in a big story like this, you would think the reporter would mention it in the story. This is a terrifying story of a company that is larger than most countries GDP and represents 1/5 of the US GDP...when readers ask who's minding the store?? Easy answer...

  95. Ah, price fixing. Ah, insider trading. I remember when the press was busy trumpeting the wildly profitable success of these firms as a natural result of employing the "brightest and the best". Then there was the idea that those pesky low-income people who bought homes they could not afford were responsible for our nations financial woes. And who can forget Barney Frank, up all night, insistent that billions of dollars be given to these same criminals immediately least the WHOLE WORLD FALL APART TOMORROW!

    At last, time for some journalistic investigation into the real reason these thieves do so very well?

  96. Oh yeah, it's all Barney Frank's fault. What happened to Obama?

  97. The utter lack of knowledge and the need to vilify is startling. As someone who works in the equity research business I'm disappointed in the poor explanations the NY Times gave for what has been a common business practice for years and a well scrutinized one at that. Sensationalist journalism at its finest. Unless you understand how institutional investing works, stop crying wolf. While many of you are admonishing the practices of Blackrock or the hedge funds, what you may not realize is your pension money is probably invested with them - so you benefit. Stick to what you know and understand.

  98. So if I support the Mafia because it makes money for me , it is OK ? Aren`t I a second tier part of the crime and if there are multiple crimes does that make them all legal ? Of course not ,but if you are part of the 1st level of active criminals then you look for others like yourself to suggest "it`s all good".

  99. In other words, "Be happy with the crumbs being thrown out and don't worry about anything because we are the best and brightest. And we know what's best for you peasants."

  100. 'Your pension money is probably invested with them."

    In what parallel universe do you live, in which workers still have pensions? In what strange Mirror Reality have the few remaining pension funds not been looted?

    Do not condescend. We understand. We understand too well.

  101. The "dirty little secret" is that ever since Elliott Spitzer's forced separation of investment banking and equity research, the "unintended consequences" has been a dumbing-down of equity research, and as Street firms have sought to "monetize" what is left of thi;s "asset", they have made questionable choices.

    As Bud Morten said recently "The mandated separation of investment banking and investment research reduced substantially the resources available to support sell-side research at a time when those resources were already declining due to industry consolidation and a downward trend in commission rates"

    In plain talk English this means that when investment banking stopped paying analysts, strong analysts left the business and young/weak analysts can't be good credit officers.

    Read be;pw

  102. I have taught my children NEVER to invest in stocks. "You get an A in class. Well picture someone who ten times smarter than the smartest kid in your class. He is not going to leave profit lying around for you to invest in and get ahead.
    We are not as smart as the Wall Street creeps and at least we should know that much."

    I want radio/TV news to quit announcing the advance and retreat of the DOW as if it is important news to us. It means nothing to us but having our pockets emptied.

  103. This Wall Street Casino Cartel with their LIBOR, derivatives, swaps, back room deals, insider trading and the foxes [ rubin, dimon, geithner, paulsen, etc...] guarding it all - this makes the ole Mafia appear as kindly old pizza owners.
    If they only knew, they could gone for Wall Street instead of Las Vegas.

  104. Nah, they needed a vacation from New York, all those swimming pools, sunshine, and shows.

  105. It would be interesting to list the systemic imbalances that occurred throughout human history and figure out when these conditions lead to revolution, and how the revolution gets started. The Chinese Revolution was against the ruling elite, as was the French Revolution, and the Russian Revolution. I geuss one could go on, it seems, with that list. I think another contributing factor is the militarization of the police, which then serve the elite. Check, again to that.. So when is the revolution going to happen, I wonder, and how bloody will it be?

  106. Clearly a case for less regulation!

  107. Funny that we call what goes on Wall Street investing. It isn't even as fair as gambling. If you win big at a casino you pay taxes as though it's income. You can't even balance your winnings against your gambling losses. Gambling on Wall Street has a minimal tax penalty and big money stacks the deck.

  108. Obama pretends to be protector of the people. Actually he is chief honcho of a corrupt system, which he depends on for money and favor. The people are so ignorant and stupid, it just goes on.

  109.'s Mitt who is doing his own kind of hiding. It is the GOP who want to hide the identities of the 30 wealthy donors who are bankrolling their campaign. They are also hiding the fact that they will never stop this kind of activity. This kind of criminal activity is the lifeline of folks like Mitt and the GOP.

  110. Are you in some strange ongoing competition where the first person to comment "I blame Obama" wins a Tea Party or something?

  111. having watched/traded a handful of stocks over the past 10 years it's been obvious that some big players have a lot of timely and/or inside information - putting them at a major advantage and us "outside" investors at a disadvantage. Beyond some sort of messed up assumed "privilege" by wall street, I can' think of any reason why this shouldn't be a level playing field. I believe technology is beginning to make it so, government should do it's part!!

  112. Malfeasance on Wall Street, who would have thought it.

  113. There is a lot of talk about "class warfare" in the current election season, all of it coming from the 1% who don't want their privileges analyzed, let alone criticized. Well, class warfare has long existed, and here is just another example of how the very rich manage to prey on everyone else, while bought politicians look away or actively do their bidding.

  114. I question how relevant and accurate analyst comments are over the long term. Yes, I see stock price moves when a ranking is released. Yet a few days later, it is more often as though nothing has happened! I wish someone would do a study to show accuracy let us say at the end of a one year period.

  115. If it is public information, why are hedge funds asking the analysts? I thought people at hedge-funds would be smart enough to crunch public information? Give me a break.

  116. The conferences of analysts, hedge funds, and corporate insiders should be videotaped, publically webcast in real time by a network like C-Span and archived in a publicly accessible website. The participants should pay for the network.

  117. Earned income by hedge fund managers? What's "earned" about that?

  118. Perhaps the greatest still-unexamined story of the past decade is that hundreds of hedge fund Ponzi schemes were in operation in the United States during that time. We all heard about Madoff, we heard a little about Sanford, but all across the nation hedge fund managers and pretend hedge fund managers were busy engaging in fraud. This was possible because of a combination of three factors: systemic advantages in insider information, as well as in instruments created for alternative investment strategies to take advantage of that information; high-frequency trading programs that could be used to front-run the long position-only, traditional-broker stock purchases of small investor money managers; total secrecy of activity.
    The advantages engaged the greed of the dupes and the total secrecy made the claims of higher-than-believable returns believable. This will be a tough nut to crack, but crack it we must, because not only have the advantages and the secrecy opened the door to rampant crime by wealthy individuals and non-bank groups of individuals, they have also been a major factor in the dramatic and disgustingly widening gap between the haves and the have nots in this country. Small-time investors are now institutionalized dupes, to be predated upon by the incestuous interplay of bank and non-bank financial institutions and the ratings agencies they pay off.

  119. Are people ever going to act on the steady drip of corruption stories that have been coming out of Wall Street lately? It's time to clean up the Street. The banksters can't seem to resist skimming the till. We should treat them like anyone else that steals from the public.

  120. If in fact the information the analysts are giving the investors is not public then this can only be described as insider trading - where is the SEC - or has that become a defunct agency owned by the big corporations?

  121. This whole scenario is PRECISELY what Romney calls "meritocracy" and the "level playing field."

    BTW, kudos to Johanan in a previous related article, viz "johanan's law": "the less money you have, the harder you have to work for it."

    With each report of policies that coddle the rich -again, with relentless assertions by Republicans that this is the very definitiion of 'meritocracy'- the more deeply we get beyond the zone of "tragedy," and further into "farce.". Pity Marx didn't specify what comes after farce-- whatever you call it, we're surely there.

  122. This is not news. It is one of those archive articles that gets dredged up every year or so.

  123. Is this why Mitt Romney's IRA is in the millions and I have only 100,000 even though I've contributed for more than 20 years? Clearly, there is inside information given to those who are VIPs.

  124. Because he put a lot of shares of Bain Capital in his IRA when he started the company, before they were worth much.

  125. Smoke but no fire folks...

    I have evaluated both the BlackRock & Marshall Wace funds as a portfolio manager serving pension funds. A few key points:

    1) Both have vetted the legality of their approaches with regulators. They are sensitive about the potential pitfalls of this approach and have significant controls in place.

    2) In a typical interaction between a fund and a broker, the fund will call salespeople/analysts to gather opinions on stocks, or salespeople call the fund manager to share their views. They discuss the SAME things noted in the article: earnings; growth; management; etc. The surveys simply allow funds to gather many more opinions in a more organized way than human analysts ever could.

    3) TOPS surveys salespeople, not analysts. I have worked in sell-side research and know there are controls in place preventing analysts from leaking info to salespeople ahead of clients. The salespeople are providing their OWN opinions to the survey.

    4) BlackRock manages Trillions while the funds that use this strategy are$1-$2 Billion, under 1/10 of 1% of assets. They have no incentive to raise the ire of regulators or jeopardize their franchise given how small a business it is.

    5) These strategies do not produce eye-popping results, hitting some "singles" and few/no "home runs". If they are going through the trouble of cheating, it stands to reason they'd make more money doing it.

    There are some bad guys on Wall St. for sure, but there is no story here.

  126. Oh, I'm sure we can all sleep a lot better for your "evaluation."

  127. I think you miss the very important point that the inequities are inherent in the system. It can be perfectly legal and still highly unfair to smaller and individual investors. Point 1, that it is legal, especially misses the point, which is t hat the regs are inadequate. No one says it is illegal. It is, however, not (sorry, I can't resist) a fair and balanced arrangement.

    Have you ever played a carny game such as ringtoss at the boardwalk or a fair? Some games are impossible to win. They aren't gaffed but take advantage of the laws of physics in such a way as to make it nealy impossible to win, e.g., shooting a bb gun at a hanging paper target that is not weighted at the bottom. After the first bb hits the target, the paper flies backward, and the rest of the bbs hit outside the bullseye. The game is legal because it isn't impossible to win, but the game is designed in such a way that your chances are very slim indeed.

  128. I accuse you and others like you of being a player in a rotten system, defending a rotten system. If this weren't important to the funds, then why would they do it? And why would they try to hide what they are doing? As far as "vetting the legality of their approaches with the regulators", don't kill us all from laughing. Our regulators and our entire regulatory regime--they have sure proved their worth over the past ten years! "Legality" is the fig leaf Wall Street holds up when "honesty" and "fairness" can't be argued even with a red face.

    Wall Street is entirely "bad guys". That's why they are there. There are plenty of them, and I'm looking at you, who would drain the blood out of the bodies of the suckers (that's us, here outside) if they thought there was profit there and they wouldn't get caught.

    Some may say that the analysts are already so corrupt and often wrong that there's no point in polling them. But enough of the suckers do follow them that "front running recs" as one of your fellow "industry professionals" put it in an unfortunately honest e-mail, as quoted by this reporter who should be running the SEC in a better world, is a sure means towards plucking some more suckers who wouldn't get private answers to their "surveys".

    "No story here," you tell us with a smirky, patronizing head-pat. By God there is.

  129. Jail Time For Corporate Crime !!!!!

  130. It seems fairly obvious that the financial services industry generally, and Wall Street particularly, is ensnared by some sort of mob mentality, or herd behavior, where groups feel justified in operating outside of established social norms. Simply stated, the banksters are not troubled by unethical and illegal behavior, such as insider trading, when they already know their cohorts are doing it. This behavior is probably reinforced by the business and law schools.

  131. This article and many of the comments are based on a misunderstanding of the core US law relating to analysts and "insider trading." Firms are free to make selective disclosure of analyst reports to favored clients. They created the information and are free to use it. If analyst reports can't be used to attract clients, or be used in the firms' own trading, how will the activity be financed? And without analyst activity, markets are less efficient and all market participants suffer, including the shareholders of the now-less-well understood public companies. A problem may arise, however, if the firm/its analysts falsely advise one set of clients about its views while telling another set what it truly believes. If the firm has a published rating "strong buy" but is in the process of revising its view to "sell," then it needs to manage disclosure of its changed opinion to avoid actively misleading one set of investors.

  132. If This Insider Pre-Notification RIP-OFF of most investors is LEGAL, then We Need to Make It ILLEGAL ! The Occupy Wall Street Movement Needs EVERYONE's SUPPORT because they were Right all along.

  133. If a firm has a stated policy that it releases its research to all clients simultaneously, then I believe your claim that firms have a right to make selective disclosure to favored clients is erroneous and that they are in fact breaching a duty they have undertaken voluntarily. Furthermore, if they are releasing non-public information to select clients, then how is it inaccurate to characterize it as akin to insider trading?

  134. The key quote in the article you aren't responding to is:

    "To the degree that these surveys alert select hedge fund clients to future shifts in researchers’ views or estimates, analyst participation in them may contradict firms’ policies stating that research is distributed to all clients simultaneously. "

    When such policies are in place, it seems that releasing some analyst information to selected clients is a problem from the standpoint of misleading clients.

  135. Last time I looked, this was called insider trading. Little people get punished for it...

  136. How did little people get hurt on this one? please explain....

  137. Wall St. is a big casino with the games rigged. The house always has the advantage

  138. It is comforting to know that 401K plans have not yet heard of this maneuver.

  139. Anyone who doesn't agree that this is a form of insider trading among Wall Street/City of London thieves, just create your own similar survey questionnaire and e-mail it to a selection of analysts. Tell us when you ever get a completed questionnaire returned to you.

  140. How sad is that? The NYT has to do the job the SEC is supposedly being paid to do. It is clear, the system is corrupt

  141. I wish all the commenters would stop complaining about Wall Street grifters. Don't you realize that they feel underappreciated and unloved because they know they are smarter than everybody else, don't pay unnecessary taxes, and really "understand" the system the way the rest of us simply cannot grasp because we are so stupid. Ease up because their poor little feelings are hurt so much they might stop buying politicians.

  142. Yes heart really bleeds for them.....
    Pls. someone pass me a hankie...I can't stop crying!!!!

  143. Wake me up if somebody is actually in danger of going to jail. I'm not holding my breath.

  144. Thank you Gretchen as usual... outstanding investigative reporting.
    Meanwhile, the cheerleaders @ CNBC are -as usual- either talking to each other about the great gig they have that pays them handily, or just in denial for Wall Street almost daily mischief.mischief.

  145. The revolving door policy of interchanging positions between governemnt jobs and private firms is a big problem. The cozy relationship is rotten to the core of fairness and transparency. Our fundamental value system is blindsided by this trend. We need to (again) set regualtions to stop this.

  146. Literally influence peddling. The stock market is mainly about perception not any "reality" underneath it.

  147. The article assumes that the analysts are right. If that were true, no Wall Street firm would ever go broke and all their bets would be winners. But they obviously aren't, so simmer down, folks. Only the pope is infallible.

  148. You misunderstand. The analyst only needs to know what she herself is going to recommend in the near future. Her recommendations will move the market, so she only has to predict her own recommendations accurately and telegraph them to "selected clients". That's not too tough.

  149. The issue is not whether an analyst's change in rating is correct or not but that it is "unexpected," that it is a "surprise" so that the change in opinion, itself, and not the correctness of the change in opinion is what moves the market and gives the hedge funds a trading advantage akin to insider information.

    Mr. Wallenfels, we'll all take your advice to "simmer down" when you make it a little clearer that you know what you're talking about.

  150. It surprises me that the author of the story and the vast majority of commentators fail to understand that this survey data is collected for quantitative investors, who have no interest whatsoever in the fundamental research these Equity Analysts provide to institutional investors. The directionality of earnings revisions, which is highly correlated with stock performance, is their only concern. And, yes, it is one of 100 factors in a given algorithm. Fundamental investors care too, of course, but their queries come in one-on-one communication: "Do you think they can hit your numbers?" "Was it a slam-dunk quarter" . . . Note that most institutional investors often have their own views as well. The key is the analyst must always have a single answer to share. And when views change, it must be communicated to all at once in published research. Another point: with the Facebook revisions, analysts' ability to communicate changing estimates was highly constrained by the IPO process. That said, the factors that induced changes were widely publicized and the fact that estimates had changed (how could they not) was reported in the financial press.

  151. I think you need to re-read the article ... unless of course, you understood it all too well and thought this might deflect less careful outraged readers.

  152. they said they didn't do it, so they must not have

  153. Does anyone actually listen to the analysts anymore?

  154. That's correct.They are slow to issue any guidance.A lagging indicator.

  155. Evidently, they do and, evidently, some investors are willing to go to great lengths to listen to them.

    I share the cynicism that underlies the comment but I have to say, Mab, that your cynicism may have gone one step beyond. I think we all still need to retain an ability to be surprised by some things that happen in the financial markets, even after the events of the last four years.

  156. Surprise, surprise. As if I needed to read an article in the NYTimes to know this. (although I am glad that Ms Morgenson did). The hedge funds and all the other advantaged groups are skimming all of the profits off the top of our retirement earnings. The days of ~ 10% avg annual return over the long term for stocks are over. The hedges and friends are skimming at least 5-8%of that leaving little or none for the rest of us who actually do productive work for a living.

  157. I think the days of 10% avg annual return are over for because long term annual growth to support those return are over (aka there is a real economic reason)..not because somebody is "talking" to somebody in the investment communtiy... you are mis-informed and spreading bad ideas

  158. Well, Dave, the skimming off the top is not only due to people "talking" to each other, but also due to the fact that people are just making money by moving money around, i.e. creating no real value in the process, but just taking a substantial part of the profits. If you think that I am misinformed and spreading bad ideas, then provide some compelling concrete evidence against it. My idea is only a hypothesis, but one that I think we should begin to take seriously - I would love to see a serious calculation (and not by Wall st insiders) of how much of the stock market earnings go to the financial sector itself rather than the rest of us.

  159. Ms. Morgenson has once again performed a great service in illuminating a troubling practice that results in a large transfer of wealth from most to the well connected firms that are able to use analysts’ recommendations to trade ahead.

    Where this article falls short is in failing to connect up to the recent so-called innovations to the stock markets - such as allowing dark pools to be run by exchanges, the large number of trading platforms that offer rebates to liquidity providers, & the increasing internalization of customers’ orders by brokerage firms. It also should make clear that even if the information were to be released to all at the same time there really would be no practical way in which an individual trader would be able to make use of that information because the algorithmic traders would already have executed their trades before an individual traders’s orders were presented for execution. Even pension & mutual funds trade behind the algorithmic traders & so have their gains reduced harming those invested therein.

    To those claiming the smart people can game any system; Why do they need to pay huge sums to buy a rigged game? The vast majority would be unable to earn large sums if there were a level playing field. A level playing field is easy to achieve if there is the political will to do so. Stop whining, start acting - tell your members in Congress that if they want your vote then they better clean up the stock markets now.

  160. "tell your members in Congress" Haha. that's funny. The politicians are part of the rigged game. Their campaign money comes from the coffers of the Wall Street gangsters.

  161. S. Mirow: Ah, but will our congressional members listen to us? Look how they are watering down the Dodd-Frank act. Their campaign funds are part of the problem as well. If money is taken out of campaigns, then....

  162. Through such tips to the select hedge funds about particular companies' prospects, and virtually persuading the former to invest in the latter, the brokerage firms seem plugging the gaps left by insider trading, causing thereby a huge disadvantage to the general investors. But even otherwise the Wall Street remains a slippery corridor for the common folks, unaware of its clever gambling ways.

  163. I see you corridor as a icy bridge in an earth quake flapping side to side and up and down needing major repairs or completely rebuild to handle the ftwo way or four way flows.

  164. Gee, apply for a mortgage, set up a bank account, take out a student loan, apply for a car loan. Somehow the 99 percent just doesn't count when it comes to being part of the in crowd! It's fairly remarkable that this insider information continues to thrive and enrich the few and well-connected in the midst of a recession that is the worst since the "Great" Depression. I think that the words REGULATION and WRONGDOING are fairly easy to spell and comprehend!

  165. The SEC is still a joke, and Obama blew it when he appointed a corrupt insider, Mary Schapiro, to run it. I'm taking bets that if he loses, he becomes a partner at Goldman within a year of retiring.

  166. It is always essential to cheat the mass market, and give the under-the-table advice and advantage to the big players. In this way Wealth Can Be Concentrated in the few, not the mass of investors. Ever wonder why your 401K investments never do more than the average at their very best, this article explains how that happens. We can't have big investors who aren't treated preferentially. Now you know why Republicans get massive Campaign War Chests stuffed with cash. Wall Street Greed merchants see them as the last line of defense against their worst nightmare, a Fair and Level Playing Field in the Market. Government is the ONLY ENTITY that could accomplish such a feat, and the Big Money is Betting against The President because the fix has been 'in' and they live by it. 45% percent of the nations income goes to ONE Percent of the population while the bottom 80% share just 7%, you read that correctly, Just SEVEN Percent of the nation's income is divvied up among 80% of the U.S. population. This gives you some idea how many foolish people have to vote for the people who Rob Them day in and day out. Propaganda, lies, Rush Limbaugh, are all earning their pay when a Republican just 4 years after the Worst Economic Collapse since the Great Depression has any chance at all of being elected. This is why Convinicing the Rubes to vote against their own best interests is essential to the concentration of wealthy they will never see.

  167. Since when is this sort of activity by Wall Street and Seems it's just more of the "we have a right..." arrogance on the part of these individuals. Profit above all.. including the U.S. economy.

  168. This is old news. Prime brokers have, for decades, provided "inside" (advance) info about companies to their most important hedge fund customers - customers who direct trading activity.

    Now JP Morgan is being investigated, and Libor has been outed - still no indictments to investigate the culprits behind the CDOs. Parsing the Volker Rule is a two year arena of comments that the SEC has delayed.

    The root cause of our depression has not been properly identified or acknowledged. While a financial plague of $700 Trillion derivatives waits for the hiccup that detonates the financial H -Bomb. Infinitely worse than the $7 Billion +? hit to JP's "synthetic portfolio" of derivatives which Jamie Dimon, couldn't explain.

    "How We Got Swindled by Wall Street Godfathers, Greed & Financial Darwinism - foreword from David Satterfield, former business editor of the Miami Herald with 2 Pultizers.

    Satterfield's endorsement:

    “With keen intellect and searing wit, Henry Schoenberger’s How We Got Swindled exposes the myriad of financial hijinks and colossal leadership failures that have turned the first decade of the new century into an economic disaster. Schoenberger not only identifies the causes, rationales and human failings that led to this mess; he provides some ready answers for how we must go about fixing it. This should be must-reading for every policy maker in Washington and every student of economics and finance.”

    To learn what you ought to know:

  169. Wall Street is corrupt from top to bottom, that much we all understand by now. Why anyone would trust anyone in the financial industry is beyond me. My solution? I trade at a credit union; I buy no stocks or bonds; I will not deal with a banker, trader, broker or any of the other financial hustlers who want to leech off me. This approach simplifies my life. And anyone can do it. If they say they can't, I say they are in denial and still think they can beat the gangsters who run the casino. They can't.

  170. "I'm SHOCKED to find gambling going on in this establishment!"

  171. "Your winnings, Mr Romney."

  172. Down at the horse racing track my crazy Uncle Louie says that some races are fixed and that the insiders know the winners.

    I told him that I heard the same thing down on Wall Street and he said "Getattahere!"
    I didn't know the mob was down there.

    I said,"No mob." These are just the descendents of the people who stole the land from the natives, the value of the labor of the slaves, the sweat of the women who worked at home for nothing and worked in business for less than men, the undervalued worth of the labor of immigrants, the rest of the minorities of Americans and through their wealth corrupted government or got elected for their own interests."

    "Oh he said. That sounds better. Sounds like they got it made. And good luck at the track and now I guess I should add, 'down at the street'!"

  173. I don't get why a specifically quantified response to a specific question about an analyst's opinion is not in itself "non-public information," since the analyst's opinion is one of the main driving factors in the stock price. Putting a number on it is unquestionably information, and that number is only given to the surveyor, not the public.

  174. It appears that individual investors should exit the market and stick with hedge funds that can do war with each other, unless the hedge funds have favorite clients that will benefit from priority treatments during market fluxuations. For the average working person, we need a national portable pension system that can invest at a level worthy of fairer treatment, and can be accessible by any employer or employee wishing to make a contribution.

    As for better regulation of the existing system, both candidates are weak in this area, but only one thinks we need less regulation of investments.

  175. The stench of corruption is everywhere on Wall Street, like an open pit latrine. Peuw! Gag. Retch...

  176. I'm shocked, shocked, I tell you!

    Any retail investor who seriously think he or she has access to even a tiny little percentage of the information that these inside players have is just not paying attention.

    The public stock market is for Dummies; the real action is now and has been for a long time in hedge funds.

    Wall Street is entirely rigged, and it is a giant craps table with an illegal card game in back.

    You are either playing their game, or you are a victim of their game. There's nothing in the middle.

  177. No surprise. Hedge Funds expect it. Otherwise, they do business somewhere else.

  178. Excuse me--Don't you want your money to make money--or would you rather the government just used it to balance its own budget--which is what it does.
    In Pa. the pension fund is run independent of the government. Teachers, local school districts and the state each contribute. Of course anyone who manages a fund of any kind is going to get paid.

  179. Two points:
    Somebody suggested the analysts are often not correct in their predictions. That is besides the point. The analysts' predictions move the markets no matter they are correct or not. So if some prominent analysts predict the price of a stock to decrease very often it will decrease at least in the short term when a lot of people who believe the analysts sell. If you have advance information about the prediction you can make an unfair profit by selling the stock early to get a better price or buying it cheap when others start selling.

    More important in the decision of a stock transaction than a piece of information about the stock is to know whether that information has been already absorbed into the stock price or not. There is only value in information not incorporated in the stock price. If analysts are leaking their prediction to their favorite clients in advance they are reducing the value of their analytic predictions in that you cannot gain much from that information which the market may already have adjusted to.

  180. Well, if the analysts are wrong, and you think the stock is oversold, then you can buy it at an even lower price than you would otherwise get.

    This sort of trading requires that you do your own analysis, but you can make a lot of money this way.

  181. What a surprise. Wall Street is corrupt.

  182. To quote an outstanding physicist: BAZINGA! They/re foolling us all...AGAIN.

  183. This practice is NOT compliant with SEC regulation
    On the SEC web site, Regulation FD, effective October 23, 2000 states:

    "We believe that the practice of selective disclosure leads to a loss of investor confidence in the integrity of our capital markets. Investors who see a security's price change dramatically and only later are given access to the information responsible for that move rightly question whether they are on a level playing field with market insiders."
    Issuer selective disclosure bears a close resemblance in this regard to ordinary "tipping" and insider trading. In both cases, a privileged few gain an informational edge -- and the ability to use that edge to profit -- from their superior access to corporate insiders, rather than from their skill, acumen, or diligence. Likewise, selective disclosure has an adverse impact on market integrity that is similar to the adverse impact from illegal insider trading: investors lose confidence in the fairness of the markets when they know that other participants may exploit "unerodable informational advantages" derived not from hard work or insights, but from their access to corporate insiders.6 The economic effects of the two practices are essentially the same. "

  184. If, according to the law of the land, corporations are people, why aren't these firms being held to the same standard as common criminals who repeatedly break the law? There are only so many chnaces one gets at plea bargains.

    What will it take for DOJ and the SEC to realize that repeated consent decrees and reduced/negotiated fines mean nothing to the banks? It's only an annoying cost of doing business and a nominal blip in their quarterly earnings.

    Criminal prosecutions and stiff sentencing recommendations are the only things that may make them do a double-take before engaging in these activities.

  185. Nothing to see here folks, move along.