SEC Takes Aim at Retail Investors, Meme Stocks in New Video

By Benzinga
June 2, 2022 Updated: June 2, 2022

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is used to going after insider traders, pump and dumpers, and fraudulent advisors. But yesterday, the federal regulatory agency went after a new group: retail investors.

The SEC posted a video on its YouTube channel encouraging retail investors (everyday people buying stocks) to do research before investing. The video is a 30-second clip, portraying a game show in which a contestant selects “Meme Stocks” and promptly loses his money and gets hit in the face with a pie.

A second contestant decides to do research before choosing which asset to invest in, leaving the first contestant asking, “Wait, we can do research?”

While the SEC did not specifically name any companies in its video, it’s clear the video was targeted at GameStop Corp. and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., as well as other stocks that retail investors flocked to throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. recently shared a chart that showed that the indexed return of its “Retail Investor Favorite Basket” has reverted back to its pre-COVID level, wiping out any gains. At one point, the retail investor basket was outperforming the S&P 500, but the latter index has since surpassed the former.

Eric Balchunas, a writer at Bloomberg who covers ETFs, replied to a tweet showing the chart, saying that Goldman needs to do a better job of defining “retail” because passive investors have bought $200 billion worth of ETFs year-to-date.

Goldman should specify what “retail” means, looks like they mean Robinhood YOLO-ers. Meanwhile, “retail” passive fund investors have plowed $200b into equity funds YTD.—Eric Balchunas (@EricBalchunas) May 31, 2022

He continues, saying that the way a large portion of retail investors buy and hold ETFs is actually a smarter way to invest than the methods used by a lot of Wall Street analysts.

By Aaron Bry

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