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Everything You Need to Know about the GameStop Frenzy and Key Players, including Robinhood, Citadel, Reddit, Roaring Kitty & Rigged Markets

The frenzied trading in GameStop, Bed Bath & Beyond and other stocks in early 2021 resulted in lots of media coverage, hearings on the Hill and international attention. The events raised critical questions about the fairness of our markets, the treatment of retail investors, the gamification of trading, the role of certain trading strategies, conflicts of interest, interconnectedness, and many related issues.

While some of these issues are new to the public, Better Markets has been working on them for many years. Because of our expertise, we have been in the forefront of explaining them to regulators, legislators, policymakers and the media.

From the beginning of the GameStop frenzy, Better Markets has provided insight into why/how these events occurred, who some of the players are and a break-down of many of the terms and activities relevant to this complex topic. We did this through media appearances, written fact sheets and other resources, which are listed below.


CNBC "Fast Money"

On Wednesday, July 7, 2021, Better Markets’ Co-founder, President, and CEO Dennis Kelleher appeared on CNBC’s “Fast Money” to highlight the tilted playing field that disadvantages retail investors and the SEC's scrutiny into Robinhood.

 

Financial Services Committee Hearings – Game Stopped? Who Wins and Loses When Short Sellers, Social Media, and Retail Investors Collide

Part I – Chairwoman Waters kicked off the  hearings on February 18, 2021.  The first hearing included the CEOs of Robinhood, Citadel and Melvin Capital Management as witnesses. Watch the highlights of the hearing here:

 

Part II – At the second hearing held on March 17, 2021, Better Markets’ Dennis Kelleher testified.  He particularly emphasized how retail investors are virtually guaranteed to get worst execution and lose money in payment for order flow schemes.  He also addressed the immediate need for tougher regulatory oversight to reform our markets, end predatory and other harmful practices, and stop what too many in the financial industry continue to view as a game, among other topics. Read Mr. Kelleher's written testimony here and his five-minute opening statement here. And see a Twitter recap of the conversation and a tick-tock of key moments during his testimony in these video clips. Watch his full testimony below:

 

Part III – On Thursday, May 6, House Financial Service Committee held the third hearing which examined the market volatility involving GameStop and other stocks. The full virtual hearing, featuring SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, Michael Bodson, and Robert Cook,  can be viewed here.

Better Markets' Dennis Kelleher recapped this third hearing and discussed GameStop, rigged markets, and other topics on episode 93 of Roll Call’s Fintech Beat podcast. In addition, Better Markets released a fact sheet summarizing  the third hearing and capturing SEC Chair Gensler's views on four key issues, as well as Better Markets’ own our assessment on each issue and what we believe should be next steps.


ISSUE-AND-FIRM-SPECIFIC FACT SHEETS:

FACT SHEET on HIGHLIGHTS OF THE THIRD GAMESTOP HEARING: SEC Chairman Gary Gensler in his own words on four key policy issues.
 
PAYMENT FOR ORDER FLOW FACT SHEETS: What is payment for order flow & how it rips off retail investors. Short Version and Long Version
 
 

CAT FACT SHEET: Stands for consolidated audit trail, a long overdue, transparency and accountability measure to protect investors and the integrity of the U.S. securities markets.

FEB. 18 POST-HEARING FACT SHEET reviewing the highlights of the hearing.

FACT SHEET OF THE KEY ISSUES raised by Robinhood, Reddit, Citadel, GameStop and rigged markets.

CITADEL FACT SHEET: Who is Citadel and why should you care?


OTHER RESOURCES:

WHITE PAPERDetailed analysis on select issues raised by the speculative frenzy in GameStop and other stocks.

BLOG POST—MARKET STRUCTURE: A detailed blog post of Better Markets' advocacy over the years on market structure.

PRESS RELEASE: Statement on Dennis Kelleher's upcoming testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.
 

PRESS RELEASEBetter Markets' Letter to House Financial Services Committee on Key Issues for the Feb. 18 Hearing on GameStop Trading and the Role of Robinhood, Citadel, Reddit.

LETTER to House Committee on Financial Services identifying key issues including ripping off retail investors; gamification; payment for order flow; conflicts of interest; transparency; short selling activities; high frequency trading; best execution; manipulation; capital and liquidity requirements; forced arbitration; and the consolidated audit trail.
 
LETTER to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and other financial regulators who met to review and address the issues raised by the frenzied trading in GameStop and other equities.
 
MEMO TO INTERESTED PARTIESThis memo was released in advance of the House Financial Services Committee hearing on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, and includes information on the key issues that should be discussed at that hearing as well as links to additional materials that provide greater detail.
 

HEARING HIGHTLIGHTS: The Feb. 18 HFSC hearing lasted more than 5 hours, but you don’t have watch it all to see some of the key highlights – we’ve got them here in just 23 minutes!  See Chair Maxine Waters, AOC, Jim Himes, Ritchie Torres, Al Green, Cindy Axne, Rashida Tlaib, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and more!

 

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