Ethics Paper 2009-12-16
Aydin Najafzadeh FN 663
What Is Insider Trading?
Insider trading is the trading of a corporation’s stock or other securities (e.g. bonds or stock options) by individuals with potential access to non-public information about the company. In most countries, trading by corporate insiders such as officers, key employees, directors and large shareholders may be legal, if this trading is done in a way that does not take advantage of non-public information.
Rules against insider trading on material non-public information exist in most jurisdictions around the world, though the details and the efforts to enforce them vary considerably. The United States is generally viewed as having the strictest laws against illegal insider trading, and makes the most serious efforts to enforce them.
In the United States and several other jurisdictions, trading conducted by corporate officers, key employees, directors, or significant shareholders (in the U.S., defined as beneficial owners of ten percent or more of the firm's equity securities) must be reported to the regulator or publicly disclosed, usually within a few business days of the trade.
Illegal insider trading is believed to raise the cost of capital for securities issuers, thus decreasing overall economic growth.
In the United States and many other jurisdictions, however, "insiders" are not just limited to corporate officials and major shareholders where illegal insider trading is concerned, but can include any individual who trades shares based on material non-public information in violation of some duty of trust. This duty may be imputed; for example, in many jurisdictions, in cases of where a corporate insider "tips" a friend about non-public information likely to have an effect on the company's share price, the duty the corporate insider owes the company is now imputed to the friend and the friend violates a duty to the company if he or she trades on the basis...