The $1 Trillion Question: New Approaches to Regulating Stock Buybacks
17 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2018
Date Written: October 17, 2018
Stock buybacks—transactions in which public companies buy back their own equity securities on the open market—are on track to reach $1 trillion in 2018. Such repurchases manipulate the market price for issuer securities. They represent a choice by firms to prioritize shareholder payouts over other uses of corporate funds, contributing to widening economic inequality. Currently, stock buybacks are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Rule 10b- 18, a “safe harbor” rule that does not ameliorate market manipulation. This Essay recommends a new regulatory regime, outlining several alternative approaches to ensure the integrity of capital markets and corporate productivity.
Keywords: Stock buybacks; Securities Law
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