WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) – US financial regulators deemed the infrastructure of stock and commodity markets to be “resilient” during the volatility in trading in recent weeks.
“The regulators believe the core infrastructure was resilient during high volatility and heavy trading volume and agree on the importance of the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) releasing a timely study of the events,” according to a statement issued by the Treasury Department following a meeting on Thursday (Feb 4)convened by Secretary Janet Yellen.
“Further, the SEC and CFTC are reviewing whether trading practices are consistent with investor protection and fair and efficient markets,” the regulators said. “Yellen believes it is imperative to uphold the integrity of these markets and ensure investor protection.”
The meeting followed a surge in volatility involving a handful of stocks that raised questions ranging from technical regulatory matters to concern over the integrity of financial markets.
It brought together the heads of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, the SEC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which serves as the central bank’s main monitor of Wall Street.
The meeting gave the Biden administration a chance to demonstrate that it’s attuned to complaints about potential manipulation and unfair investor treatment after two congressional committees moved to hold hearings.
The controversy erupted in late January during a spectacular clash between retail investors and powerful hedge funds that pushed a handful of stocks, including GameStop, in opposite directions. That clash raised concerns over whether some investors were engaged in share-price manipulation.
But the dust-up escalated when several broker-dealers were forced to post much higher collateral to cover the cash commitments behind massive buy orders in suddenly volatile shares. That prompted Robinhood Markets and other brokers catering to retail traders to suspend buying in certain shares, enraging customers and bringing accusations of unfair treatment.