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券商配合机构限制股票交易,散户愤而起诉

在近期的社交媒体上,有很多人指责罗宾汉和华尔街大机构沆瀣一气,压榨普通投资者。

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1月27日,颇具人气的股票交易应用软件罗宾汉(Robinhood)惹了众怒,原因是它限制了GameStop及其他几只股票的买进,这些股票在过去一周一直是交易热点。

1月28日下午,罗宾汉恢复了部分交易,但在此之前,该公司已经面临至少两起集体诉讼。诉讼称,罗宾汉不允许散户通过买入或卖空股票获利,导致散户利益受损。

与此同时,在社交媒体上,有很多人指责罗宾汉和华尔街大机构沆瀣一气,压榨普通投资者。此前也正是由于社交媒体的助推,GameStop、AMC影院(AMC Cinemas)和其他一些股票才出现了令人大开眼界的止跌暴涨。

批评者指责罗宾汉之所以限制股票买入,目的是为了帮助空头。空头大笔押注GameStop股价下跌,但因为散户入场推高了GameStop股价而遭受重创。争议发生后,连一些美国国会的议员也要求对罗宾汉进行调查。

目前,没有明确证据表明罗宾汉和空头之间有阴谋,而一些市场观察人士也表示,罗宾汉此举是为了保护自身的资产。但不管是什么原因,罗宾汉用户的这场官司都并不好打。

虽然罗宾汉等券商公司有以最优价格执行客户交易的受托责任,但这并不意味着他们必须执行某一特定证券的交易。事实上,据哥伦比亚大学法学院(Columbia Law School)的教授约书亚•米茨说,该公司可能会表示,在极端波动时停止交易,恰恰是在履行义务。

米茨撰写了大量和证券法有关的著作,他还指出,罗宾汉应该承担的义务范围在一定程度上还取决于公司的服务条款。用户必须同意这些条款才能够注册,从而赋予了该公司充分的自由裁量权,让其有权以自身认可的方式运营平台,甚至关闭用户账户。

此外,目前还不清楚相关诉讼到底真的是为了维护股东权益,还是仅仅为了尽快和罗宾汉达成和解——有一批专门从事证券诉讼的律师事务所经常采取这种策略。至少其中一起诉讼让人感觉特别匆忙,因为原告律师甚至拼错了“集体诉讼”这个词。

其他法律专家也同样表示,针对罗宾汉的集体诉讼成功率不高。罗宾汉的发言人拒绝就此发表评论,也拒绝回应公司的服务条款是否允许其临时限制用户买入特定证券的问题。

这场争议可能会引发一场旷日持久的争论,即券商或交易所在极端波动时停止交易的做法是否合理。根据米茨的说法,没有什么证据可以表明类似的做法能够保护散户的权益。他补充说,有很多人对金融机构持怀疑态度,这并不奇怪,因为对冲基金长期以来一直在使用包括卖空在内的交易策略,这些策略却让散户投资者损失了数十亿美元。

“散户对精英阶层充满怀疑,经验告诉他们,机构并没有为他们寻求最大利益。”米茨说,“这种怀疑来自于过往经验,合乎情理。”(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

1月27日,颇具人气的股票交易应用软件罗宾汉(Robinhood)惹了众怒,原因是它限制了GameStop及其他几只股票的买进,这些股票在过去一周一直是交易热点。

1月28日下午,罗宾汉恢复了部分交易,但在此之前,该公司已经面临至少两起集体诉讼。诉讼称,罗宾汉不允许散户通过买入或卖空股票获利,导致散户利益受损。

与此同时,在社交媒体上,有很多人指责罗宾汉和华尔街大机构沆瀣一气,压榨普通投资者。此前也正是由于社交媒体的助推,GameStop、AMC影院(AMC Cinemas)和其他一些股票才出现了令人大开眼界的止跌暴涨。

批评者指责罗宾汉之所以限制股票买入,目的是为了帮助空头。空头大笔押注GameStop股价下跌,但因为散户入场推高了GameStop股价而遭受重创。争议发生后,连一些美国国会的议员也要求对罗宾汉进行调查。

目前,没有明确证据表明罗宾汉和空头之间有阴谋,而一些市场观察人士也表示,罗宾汉此举是为了保护自身的资产。但不管是什么原因,罗宾汉用户的这场官司都并不好打。

虽然罗宾汉等券商公司有以最优价格执行客户交易的受托责任,但这并不意味着他们必须执行某一特定证券的交易。事实上,据哥伦比亚大学法学院(Columbia Law School)的教授约书亚•米茨说,该公司可能会表示,在极端波动时停止交易,恰恰是在履行义务。

米茨撰写了大量和证券法有关的著作,他还指出,罗宾汉应该承担的义务范围在一定程度上还取决于公司的服务条款。用户必须同意这些条款才能够注册,从而赋予了该公司充分的自由裁量权,让其有权以自身认可的方式运营平台,甚至关闭用户账户。

此外,目前还不清楚相关诉讼到底真的是为了维护股东权益,还是仅仅为了尽快和罗宾汉达成和解——有一批专门从事证券诉讼的律师事务所经常采取这种策略。至少其中一起诉讼让人感觉特别匆忙,因为原告律师甚至拼错了“集体诉讼”这个词。

其他法律专家也同样表示,针对罗宾汉的集体诉讼成功率不高。罗宾汉的发言人拒绝就此发表评论,也拒绝回应公司的服务条款是否允许其临时限制用户买入特定证券的问题。

这场争议可能会引发一场旷日持久的争论,即券商或交易所在极端波动时停止交易的做法是否合理。根据米茨的说法,没有什么证据可以表明类似的做法能够保护散户的权益。他补充说,有很多人对金融机构持怀疑态度,这并不奇怪,因为对冲基金长期以来一直在使用包括卖空在内的交易策略,这些策略却让散户投资者损失了数十亿美元。

“散户对精英阶层充满怀疑,经验告诉他们,机构并没有为他们寻求最大利益。”米茨说,“这种怀疑来自于过往经验,合乎情理。”(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

Robinhood touched off widespread fury on January 27 after the popular stock-buying app halted customers' ability to purchase GameStop and a handful of other stocks that have been the subject of frenetic trading in the past week.

By January 28 afternoon, Robinhood has partially reversed the decision but not before getting smacked with at least two class action lawsuits. The lawsuits claim the company has harmed retail investors by preventing them from profiting by buying the stock or selling it short.

The lawsuits comes as many on social media—which has been fueling eye-popping rallies in GameStop, AMC Cinemas and other once beaten-down stocks—accuse Robinhood of siding with Wall Street bigwigs over ordinary investors.

According to such critics, Robinhood cut off stock purchases in order to help short sellers who had bet the price of GameStop would tumble, but then got battered as retail investors drove it up instead. The controversy has also led members of Congress to demand an investigation of Robinhood.

For now, there's no clear evidence of a conspiracy between Robinhood and the short sellers, and some market watchers say the move was to protect the company's own balance sheet. But whatever the reason, Robinhood customers are likely to face an uphill battle in the lawsuit.

While brokers like Robinhood have a fiduciary obligation to execute customer trades at the best price, that doesn't necessarily mean they must carry out trades in a given security. And in fact, the company might claim it was meeting its obligations by halting trades during a time of extreme volatility, according to Joshua Mitts, a professor at Columbia Law School.

Mitts, who has written extensively about securities law, also notes that the scope of Robinhood's obligation is determined in part by the company's terms of service. Those terms, which users must agree to upon signing up, provide the company with ample discretion to operate the platform as it sees fit or even terminate users' accounts.

Meanwhile, it's unclear whether the GameStop lawsuits are a serious attempt to help shareholders or simply to extract a quick settlement from Robinhood—a common tactic among a group of law firms who specialize in securities litigation. At least one of the claims feels particularly rushed with the lawyer who filed the case even misspelling "class action."

Other legal experts have likewise suggested the class action suits against Robinhood are a long shot. A spokesperson for Robinhood declined to comment on the litigation or if the company's terms of service grant it permission to suspend the purchase of given securities.

The controversy is likely to fuel a long-running debate over whether it is sound policy for brokerages or exchanges to halt trading at the time of extreme volatility. According to Mitts, there is little evidence that such halts serve to protect retail investors. He added that it's not surprising that many are suspicious of the financial establishment given that hedge funds have long deployed trading strategies, including short selling, that have cost retail investors billions of dollars.

"These retail investors feeling paranoid about the elites, and that institutions are not looking out for their best interests is rooted in experience," Mitts said. "It’s a justified paranoia based on what’s happened historically."

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