(Roughly) Daily

“I Seen My Opportunities and I Took ’Em”*

U.S. Senators and Congresspeople are routinely privy to news that easily fits the definition of insider information (“a fact about a public company’s plans or finances that has not yet been revealed to shareholders and that could give an unfair advantage to its possessors if acted upon“), investing on which would constitute the crime of insider trading in any other setting. There are easy ways to avoid this risk (blind trusts, widely-held stock funds, et al.); still, over half of our elected representatives trade individual stocks.

The chart above is from Quiver Strategies, a company with a “democratizing” mission:

Over the past decade, alternative data has exploded in popularity among professional money managers. Alternative data allows investors to tap into new and unique data sources to aid their decisions. However, alternative data is typically priced for institutional clients, and is not widely available to retail investors.

Trends in FinTech such as commissions-free trading have made it easier than ever to actively manage your own portfolio, which has created millions of retail traders around the world.

Quiver was founded by two college students in February of 2020, with the goal of bridging this information gap between Wall Street and non-professional investors.

Maybe not surprisingly, one of the most successful families of strategies they’ve identified tracks the stock trades of Senators and Congresspeople (per the illustration above; use pull-down to see others).

Huge majorities of Americans favor a ban on Congressional trading; and a few legislators have introduced a bill to curtail it (along with others). But it been tried before, and failed. As for this wave, as Reuters reports “It was unclear when the legislation might be considered in committee or whether it will advance to the full Senate for debate and votes anytime this year.”

[Toth to Mark Frauenfelder and Boing Boing]

* Tammany Hall boss George Washington Plunkitt, as part of his justification of what he called “honest graft


As we hold our noses, we might note that today is National Happy Hour Day.


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