U.S. SEC warns against illegal trading during coronavirus disruption

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission officials on Monday warned corporate insiders against insider trading during the disruptions caused by the coronavirus.

Company directors, officers, employees and consultants and other outside professionals who have access to material, nonpublic information should be “mindful of their obligations” to keep certain information confidential and comply with prohibitions against illegal securities trading, the co-directors of SEC enforcement said in a statement.

Global markets and businesses have been reeling from the pandemic. The SEC earlier this month said it would grant regulatory relief on a conditional basis for companies seeking to delay mandatory filings because of issues related to the virus.

Meanwhile, corporate insiders are regularly learning new information of great value and more people may have access to such material, nonpublic information, Stephanie Avakian and Steven Peikin, co-directors of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, said in the statement.

“Trading in a company’s securities on the basis of inside information may violate the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws,” the officials said.

The SEC’s Enforcement Division is committing “substantial resources” to making sure retail investors are not victims of fraud or illegal practices, they said.

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