What’s The Solution To Insider Trading?

Surowiecki recommends giving more information to outsiders:

In a world where companies increasingly know about their business in real time, it makes no sense that public reporting mostly follows the old quarterly schedule. Companies sit on vital information until reporting day, at which point the market goes crazy. Because investors are kept in the dark, the value of inside information is artificially inflated.

“Insider trading is, by definition, based on information that is not known to investors,” Baruch Lev, a professor of accounting and finance at N.Y.U. and an expert on corporate disclosure, told me. “If you increase transparency, the gains for insider trading must go down.” Back in 2002, Harvey Pitt, who was then the head of the S.E.C., told Congress that companies should be providing investors with regular updates about their performance, rather than just making quarterly disclosures. More consistent, if not real-time, data about revenue, new orders, and major investments would help investors make more informed decisions and, into the bargain, would diminish the value of insider information. If companies tell us more, insider trading will be worth less.

Felix doubts this will happen:

[T]here are two reasons why most companies would never go down such a road. The first is just that they’re not technically capable of doing so. And the second is that most companies reflexively seek to keep control of their financial information. Reg FD has stopped them from picking and choosing who gets the information, but they can at least control what information they disclose, and when. Most of the time, they err on the side of disclosing less rather than more, since information is power and the company wants to keep power for itself rather than make it public.