The SEC’s Latest Insider-Trading Theory – WSJ

Disagreement over facts aside, the major problem with the SEC case is that it writes new insider-trading law by enforcement with no limiting principle. An executive could be charged with investing in the shares of any stock in his industry group. Yet everyone knows stocks in the same industry often move up or down based on the news of a single firm.

A Nvidia employee who knew his company had a strong earnings quarter and bought stock in tech companies, or even a tech-focused ETF, could be charged under this SEC theory. A 2021 academic study dubbed this practice “shadow trading” and “an undocumented and widespread mechanism that insiders use to avoid regulatory scrutiny.”

The SEC seems determined to prosecute Mr. Panuwat as a way to send a message across the market that such shadow trading is banned. But it’s an abuse of the law to punish someone after the fact for acts that he didn’t know at the time to be illegal.

Source: The SEC’s Latest Insider-Trading Theory – WSJ