Is short selling really bad for your investments' health?
There’s been plenty of debate about the rights and wrongs of short selling, but while regulators ponder intervening in the CDS market, they seem quite happy for the shorters to continue their trade.
My position is simple. The bond and equity primary market is a long market, and is supported by secondary market trading that I also see as fundamentally long investment. If someone wants to speculate on the depreciation (or appreciation) in the price of
an equity, a bond, property or even a Premiership footballer – there are plenty of derivative contracts or spread betters that will meet their needs.
There is a weak argument that borrowing the stock and selling is more cost effective than using a synthetic instrument, but that doesn’t really hold water. Derivative trades and spread bets don’t have the same impact on the confidence of investors as short-selling
in the cash market. When you see a leading UK financial PLC short sold by 6% of the issued stock, I don’t think there’s any real doubt that the market is being manipulated. Yes – sometimes the shorters get their fingers burned, but more often than not they
While they wring their hands over CDSs, the regulators seem to be happy to allow the practice of short selling in the cash market to continue, so I’ll tell you what my plan is. I’ll going to ask my asset manager if they lend stock to support short selling
- if they say they do, and they plan to continue, then I’ll move my investments elsewhere. If all of the major asset managers stopped lending other than to support efficient settlement, the shorters would find it much harder to continue to profit from driving
down the value of my hard-earned pension plans. I got my
Product Strategy Director; BT GFS