The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday released a report stating that new stock-trading apps that operate like games may lead investors to trade more than they would have if the trading was in a traditional format. As such, the SEC stated that the apps require further examination.
The SEC primarily reviewed activity related to GameStop Corp, also called GME, and the “meme stocks” that have skyrocketed since January 2021 in particular. The report states that GME and other stocks “experienced a dramatic increase in their share price in January 2021 as bullish sentiments of individual investors filled social media.”
Through the end of 2020 and by the beginning of 2021, numerous individuals were downloading apps for broker-dealers. Then, in 2021, over 100 stocks “experienced large price moves or increased trading volume that significantly exceeded broader market movements.”
The report questioned whether certain digital engagement practices may be problematic, stating that “[c]onsideration should be given to whether game-like features and celebratory animations that are likely intended to create positive feedback from trading lead investors to trade more than they would otherwise.”
In August, the SEC also released a request for public comment regarding broker-dealer and investment adviser digital engagement practices, as well as investment adviser use of technology information to provide advice on investments.