United States: Open-Market Manipulation Under SEC Rule 10b-5 And Its Analogues: Inappropriate Distinctions, Judicial Disagreement And Case Study: FERC’s Anti- Manipulation Rule
Maxwell K. Multer, 01 September 2011
Regulators have addressed market manipulation with Rule 10b-5 since its promulgation under the Securities Exchange Act in 1942. While Section 9 of the Securities Exchange Act addresses manipulation of securities prices, it requires the specific intent “for the purpose of inducing the purchase or sale of such security by others”1 or “for the purpose of creating a false or misleading appearance [of market activity] . . ..”2 It is likely for that reason that prosecutors rarely use Section 9, choosing instead to bring manipulation proceedings under Rule 10b-5.3 But as the tools available for accomplishing market manipulation have evolved, the judicially narrowed contours of Rule 10b-5 may be such that certain new schemes escape liability. With modern advances in trade execution, market platforms and derivatives, it is now possible to accomplish a profitable market manipulation without engaging in any overtly fraudulent or illegal behavior.
Several courts have elected to distinguish between these alleged schemes and schemes which do include illegal behavior, employing a higher level of scrutiny and requiring proof of additional elements in the former situation. Manipulative schemes are referred to as “open market manipulations” when the alleged scheme is accomplished solely through the use of facially legitimate open market transactions. That is, where the manipulator has not engaged in any conduct that is inherently or otherwise illegal, such as fictitious transactions, wash sales or by disseminating false reporting. The transactions are seemingly legitimate, but for their manipulative intent and effect in combination. Continue reading “Article: United States: Open-Market Manipulation Under SEC Rule 10b-5 And Its Analogues: Inappropriate Distinctions, Judicial Disagreement And Case Study: FERC’s Anti- Manipulation Rule”