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02.05.20 | Articles, Books & Journals

When Is a Promise Enough? Contractual Duties and Insider Trading

Business Crimes Bulletin

In 2017, the SEC brought an insider trading action against an individual named Todd Alpert in the Southern District of New York for breaching a duty by misappropriating information used to trade securities. The case raised an interesting issue: What kind of duty did Alpert breach? Insider trading narratives have traditionally turned on breaches of fiduciary duties – but was a fiduciary duty required? In this article, I discuss the impact of Alpert, highlight the Second Circuit cases grappling with whether a simple contract is sufficient to create a duty to refrain from insider trading, and conclude that absent new legislation we will have to look to forthcoming decisions for guidance on what kind of promises are sufficient to create duties under the Exchange Act.

When Is a Promise Enough? Contractual Duties and Insider Trading (PDF | 359.70 KB)