Who Falls Prey to the Wolf of Wall Street? Investor Participation in Market Manipulation

72 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2017

See all articles by Christian Leuz

Christian Leuz

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Center for Financial Studies (CFS); University of Pennsylvania - Wharton Financial Institutions Center; CESifo Research Network

Steffen Meyer

Leibniz Universität Hannover

Maximilian Muhn

Humboldt University of Berlin

Eugene F. Soltes

Harvard Business School

Andreas Hackethal

Goethe University Frankfurt - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration; Goethe University Frankfurt - Research Center SAFE

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 18, 2017

Abstract

Manipulative communications touting stocks are common in capital markets around the world. Although the price distortions created by so-called “pump-and-dump” schemes are well known, little is known about the investors in these frauds. By examining 421 “pump-and-dump” schemes between 2002 and 2015 and a proprietary set of trading records for over 110,000 individual investors from a major German bank, we provide evidence on the participation rate, magnitude of the investments, losses, and the characteristics of the individuals who invest in such schemes. Our evidence suggests that participation is quite common and involves sizable losses, with nearly 6% of active investors participating in at least one “pump-and-dump” and an average loss of nearly 30%. Moreover, we identify several distinct types of investors, some of which should not be viewed as falling prey to these frauds. We also show that portfolio composition and past trading behavior can better explain participation in touted stocks than demographics. Our analysis offers insights into the challenges associated with designing effective investor protection against market manipulation.

Keywords: Market manipulation; Pump-and-dump schemes, Securities regulation; Fraud; Investor protection; Lottery stocks; Household finance

JEL Classification: D14, G11, G18, K42, M48

Suggested Citation

Leuz, Christian and Meyer, Steffen and Muhn, Maximilian and Soltes, Eugene F. and Hackethal, Andreas, Who Falls Prey to the Wolf of Wall Street? Investor Participation in Market Manipulation (November 18, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3073817 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3073817

Christian Leuz (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
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773-834-1996 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/christian.leuz/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Center for Financial Studies (CFS) ( email )

Grüneburgplatz 1
Frankfurt am Main, 60323
Germany

University of Pennsylvania - Wharton Financial Institutions Center

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6218
United States

CESifo Research Network

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Steffen Meyer

Leibniz Universität Hannover ( email )

Königsworther Platz 1
Hannover, DE 30167
Germany

Maximilian Muhn

Humboldt University of Berlin ( email )

Unter den Linden 6
Berlin, AK Berlin 10099
Germany

Eugene F. Soltes

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Andreas Hackethal

Goethe University Frankfurt - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

Theodor-W.-Adorno Platz 3
Frankfurt am Main, 60323
Germany

Goethe University Frankfurt - Research Center SAFE ( email )

(http://www.safe-frankfurt.de)
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 3
Frankfurt am Main, 60323
Germany

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