The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently issued a strong warning to corporate insiders against trading based on nonpublic information related to COVID-19. This cautionary statement comes after public reports of stock sales by the CEO of the New York Stock Exchange and his wife, Senator Kelly Loeffler.
The warning, issued by the two Co-Directors of the SEC's Enforcement program, stated: "In these dynamic circumstances, corporate insiders are regularly learning new material nonpublic information that may hold an even greater value than under normal circumstances."
Company officers and directors, as well as employees and consultants, who have access to material, nonpublic information, should be mindful of their obligations to keep certain information confidential and comply with prohibitions against illegal securities trading. Such nonpublic information can include information related to revenue declines or other poor business performance.
Individuals who wish to trade during these turbulent times - and companies who run trading compliance programs - should speak with counsel if they have any questions as to how the COVID-19-induced market turmoil impacts their legal and compliance responsibilities.
The full SEC statement is available here.