February 05, 2015
Insider Trading By Dad?
Posted by David Zaring

The latest civil fine has been paid by...well, let's go through the chain of information:

  • Company A buys Company B
  • A law firm is retained to facilitate to the transaction
  • A legal assistant at the firm complains to her boyfriend that the merger is resulting in long hours
  • The boyfriend tells his dad about the deal
  • The dad trades

And then the SEC sues and settles.  So you've got quite a trail here.  Insiders didn't trade or tip, but that is what they misappropriation doctrine is for - it imposes duties not to trade on information that belongs to someone else, in this case, I guess, the duty of law firm employees not to reveal confidential information generated as part of the firm's business.  The legal assistant didn't intend trading to occur, the son didn't trade on the information from her, and so the misappropriation appears to be trading "in breach of a duty of trust and confidence owed to his son."  The father son relationship!  It's too bad the son didn't tell this information to his neighbor, or a guy on the street, because then we could see if the duties stretch that far as well.

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