SEC Touts Data Analysis Tools in Detecting Insider Trading

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has revealed multiple enforcement actions involving allegations of insider trading. The charges are also being joined by parallel criminal charges filed in the Southern District of New York.

According to the SEC, three actions emanated from the SEC Enforcement Division’s Market Abuse Unit’s (MAU) Analysis and Detection Center, which was created in 2011. In a 2016  speech, then SEC Chair Mary Jo White discussed the need to leverage big data and technology “to detect and investigate misconduct.” She added that without these new tools, the SEC would not have been able to pursue certain cases.

Today, the SEC has announced three different enforcement actions involving nine individuals regarding alleged insider trading. They are as follows:

  • The SEC alleges that Amit Bhardwaj, the former CISO of Lumentum Holdings Inc., and his friends, Dhirenkumar Patel, Srinivasa Kakkera, Abbas Saeedi, and Ramesh Chitor, traded ahead of two corporate acquisition announcements by Lumentum, thereby generating more than $5.2 million in illicit profits.
  • The SEC alleges insider trading by investment banker Brijesh Goel and his friend Akshay Niranjan, who was a foreign exchange trader at a large financial institution. The SEC alleges that the two men, close friends from business school, made more than $275,000 from illegally trading ahead of four acquisition announcements in 2017
  • the SEC alleges that Seth Markin, a former FBI trainee, and his friend Brandon Wong made approximately $82,000 and $1.3 million, respectively, from illegally trading ahead of the February 2021 announcement of a tender offer by Merck & Co., Inc., to acquire Pandion Therapeutics, Inc.

The SEC’s Director of the Enforcement Division, Gurbir S. Grewal, explained that these actions show, that the SEC stands “ready to leverage all of our expertise and tools to root out misconduct and to hold bad actors accountable no matter the industry or profession.”

 

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