Information Issues on Wall Street 2.0

63 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2012 Last revised: 28 Mar 2015

See all articles by Elizabeth Pollman

Elizabeth Pollman

Professor of Law; Co-Director, University of Pennsylvania Law School – Institute for Law and Economics

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Billions of dollars have flooded new online marketplaces for trading private company stock. These marketplaces stand poised to become important, lasting features of the private company world as they provide a central meeting place for buyers and sellers and potentially increase the liquidity of private company stock. Increased liquidity is particularly important to investors in start-up companies, as these companies have faced longer periods of time before going public or being acquired. The new marketplaces also raise significant information issues, however, that threaten their legitimacy and efficiency. This Article is the first to examine these information issues — lack of information, asymmetric information, conflicts of interest, and insider trading — as well as possible solutions that would allow the markets to continue to evolve while promoting their integrity and investor protection goals. Specifically, the Article proposes establishing a minimum information requirement for secondary trading in private company stock and reexamining the thresholds for accredited investor status in order to ensure that market participants can fend for themselves without additional protections. The Article also examines potential responses to insider trading in these markets, arguing that a case exists for the SEC to take action in the private market context, since harm may be cognizable and the arguments for regulating insider trading are as strong in the private market arena as in the public.

Keywords: SecondMarket, SharesPost, private secondary markets, private company stock, insider trading, entrepreneurship, venture capital, JOBS Act, accredited investor

Suggested Citation

Pollman, Elizabeth, Information Issues on Wall Street 2.0 (2012). University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 161, No. 179, 2012, Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2013-1, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2186302

Elizabeth Pollman (Contact Author)

Professor of Law; Co-Director, University of Pennsylvania Law School – Institute for Law and Economics ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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