Timing Stock Trades for Personal Gain: Private Information and Sales of Shares by CEOs
47 Pages Posted: 17 Mar 2015 Last revised: 11 Jul 2015
Date Written: July 10, 2015
We investigate the determinants of gains to CEOs from large stock sales. Consistent with the literature, we find that some CEOs benefit from inside information by strategically timing sales. We also find that internal accounting information can be used to predict such timing. Furthermore, sales executed under plans that conform to SEC Rule 10b5-1 tend to follow positive abnormal stock returns, but do not, on average, precede abnormal declines. In contrast, sales that do not conform to the requirements of Rule 10b5-1 tend to follow smaller positive abnormal stock returns, but, on average, precede large abnormal declines. Board and CEO characteristics are related to the magnitude of the post-transaction abnormal returns. Overall, the evidence suggests that Rule 10b5-1 plans do not prevent CEOs from timing large sales or the release of discretionary information around them.
Keywords: CEO stock sales, 10b5-1 plan, insider trading, governance
JEL Classification: G34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation