When used appropriately, short selling can support America's capital markets by facilitating price discovery, enhancing market liquidity and promoting market efficiency. However, the lack of transparency in short-selling positions forces the market to speculate on the extent and motives of short activities and limits companies' abilities to engage with investors. It may also give rise to possibly abusive trading behavior that could make investors wary about providing the capital necessary to fund research and development
Even worse, when unscrupulous short sellers make false claims about biotech firms in order to profit financially, they divert investment from potentially life-saving research and development and unfairly harm the investors who make that research possible. The fact that these
The late Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, "Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants," and we agree. Better disclosure of short-selling positions would enable investors to thoughtfully consider the claims being made by individuals who have profit at stake in influencing their behavior. It would allow issuers the opportunity to better engage their shareholder base and address both legitimate and unfounded investor concerns. And it would equip regulators with the tools necessary to identify potentially abusive trading behaviors, address misleading claims disseminated through new media and better enforce market abuse rules.
Congress should enact sensible transparency requirements for short positions to address current gaps in the disclosure framework, root out market abuse and restore confidence in the integrity of our public markets.
Jim Greenwood is the president and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization and Nelson Griggs is the president of the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. This content represents the views of the authors. It was submitted and edited under Pensions & Investments guidelines, but is not a product of P&I's editorial team.