Is insider trading ethical? Is insider trading illegal? Insider Trading phenomena is controversial and is bringing a lot of discussion around itself. Some of the opponents claim that it’s both not ethical and legal to use information, which is not putted into public knowledge, while other opponents argue that insider trading increases market efficiency and does not any hurt to anybody. During this paper I will try to bring topic closer to the reader by providing the reasoning of both parties involved in discussion.
It is hard to define insider trading due to complexity of the topic, however the most common definition stands for: Insider trading is illegal when transactions like buying or selling stocks, bounds or other securities are based on information that is not available to the general public. In other words, the inside information which is used by inside traders to influence their decisions before publishing this information to public knowledge, thus giving them an edge in making the best deals, whether to buy or to sell. This competitive advantage according to the law is illegal and according to some scholar it unethical. Insider informer can take any forms. One can be a member of a company and has stock in the company, and finds out that your company is going publicly bankrupt the next day. Or, quite the opposite, if a business was to be buying out a major competitor, knowing that information before it was publicly announced would also be insider information. Paying someone to be an informant from a company is also considered as insider information and again is illegal. Insider traders are usually defined as company’s officers, directors and any beneficial owners of more than ten percent of the company’s equity securities. However, American law is not limiting anti – insider trading law only to these people. In the understanding of this law, any person 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 of this information.
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Insider trading was not always illegal. First regulation in the USA appeared only in 1929 when the USA Congress passed the laws limiting insider-trading acts, and created the Securities and Exchange Commission to enhance market oversight. Since that time much of the development of insider trading law has resulted from court decisions.
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