Insider Out

In light of the U.S. Open wrapping up this past weekend we’d like to congratulate Dustin Johnson on his first career major victory and talk about one of his competitors who was also recently in the spotlight.

Some of you may have seen in the news that Phil Mickelson got himself in a bit of a pickle with the SEC over some insider trading allegations.

So what happened exactly? Phil got a call from his investor buddy who urged him to buy shares of Dean Foods. This friend knew a board member who told him about a new spinoff that should bump up the stock price.  Phil followed orders and bought 440 shares. In the subsequent weeks Dean’s price went up 40% and Phil wound up making a cool $931,000 on the trade.  Sounds a little like insider trading.

It turns out that what Phil did was not actually deemed illegal by the court. Due to some court decisions favorable to wall street, you now have to know that the original tipper benefited from giving out insider information for you to get in trouble as a second hand recipient.

Wait, back up. So If someone knows a guy who knows a CEO and he just feels like giving some free insider information that’s ok? By the current precedent, kind of, but not really. Phil didn’t get to keep his earnings on the trade, but he also wasn’t charged with a crime. His investor buddy, however, did get arrested as well as the leaky board member who gave the information to square up some money he owed.

I’m personally glad Phil isn’t doing time because I really like watching him golf, but more and more some of these court decisions based on legal precedent don’t add up. This interpretation of the previous court decision basically makes a don’t ask, don’t tell scenario where connected individuals down the line can act on information as long as no one proves they knew where it came from. I guess it does protect people from those bad friends feeding them insider trading information without knowing though…

I am surprised the USGA didn’t try to get involved and hit Phil with a few penalty stokes for good measure since it’s now their favorite thing to do.

All the best,

Wesley R. Nicholson, Mike Allen and Aaron Everdyke

Securities Offered Through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member, FINRA, SIPC, a Registered Investment Advisor. Advisory Services offered through Laurel Financial Group are separate and unrelated to Commonwealth. Laurel Financial Group is a Registered Investment AdvisorDisclaimers: Please place all orders for purchase and or sale of any securities by personal phone call. We cannot accept securities orders by voicemail or by email. If you cannot reach the office, please call Commonwealth Financial Networks Trade Desk directly at 1-800-251-0080, option 1. This email, including attachments, is intended for the exclusive use of the addressee and may contain proprietary, confidential, or privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, any dissemination, use, distribution, or copying is strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please notify me via return email, permanently delete the original message, and destroy all copies.  All indices are unmanaged and investors cannot actually invest directly into an index. Unlike investments, indices do not incur management fees, charges, or expenses. Past performance does not guarantee future results