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Strategic insider trading in foreign exchange markets

Jonathan Batten (), Igor Lončarski and Peter Szilagyi

Journal of Corporate Finance, 2021, vol. 69, issue C

Abstract: Inside traders are well-documented to leverage private idiosyncratic information for personal gain in centralized exchanges such as stock markets. Evidence is rare, however, for decentralized and fragmented over-the-counter markets with microstructure properties that make them particularly vulnerable to stealth trading. The 2015 criminal conviction of Hill and Kamay for foreign exchange insider trading is the first in over-the-counter markets. We analyze their actions to show the complex, strategic decision-making of insiders even in opaque markets where they run a low risk of detection and prosecution: they trade when the market is most sensitive to local information, carefully choose and time their trades to minimize the risk of confounding information disclosures that may affect their profits, as well as act during high noise trading to mask their trades. Our results are consistent with evidence on insider trading in stock markets. We highlight the limitations of regulatory control in over-the-counter markets where technology-based surveillance methods are ineffective, while reinforcing the importance of whistleblowers in detecting and preventing insider trading.

Keywords: Foreign exchange markets; Insider trading; Market surveillance; Regulation; Strategic decision making; Ethics; Market integrity; Over-the-counter (OTC) (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jcorpfin.2020.101818

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