Using ETFs to Conceal Insider Trading
36 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2023
Date Written: January 26, 2023
We show that exchange traded funds (ETFs) are used in a new form of insider trading known as “shadow trading.” Our evidence suggests that some traders in possession of material non-public information about upcoming M&A announcements trade in ETFs that contain the target stock, rather than trading the underlying company shares, thereby concealing their insider trading. Using bootstrap techniques to identify abnormal trading in treatment and control samples, we find significant levels of shadow trading in 3-6% of same-industry ETFs prior to M&A announcements, equating to at least $212 million of such trading per annum. Our findings suggest insider trading is more pervasive than just the “direct” forms that have been the focus of research and enforcement to date.
Keywords: insider trading, shadow trading, ETF, stock
JEL Classification: G14, G23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation