From lambs to lions : how did retail investors’ role and trading behavior change in the light of WallStreetBets?

  • Over the course of the last financial crises, retail investors have been identified to bear a major share of the invoked financial losses. As a consequence, financial market regulators put major effort on retail investor protection, especially following the Great Financial Crisis of 2007-2009. The major legislative initiatives, such as in the Dodd-Frank Act in the United States, seemingly manifest retail investors’ overly fragile role among the variety of professional investors in the financial market by establishing additional protection requirements for retail investors. A vast majority of related international academic literature is supporting those steps. However, considering the most recent developments that occurred in the US financial markets, the dogma of the lamb-like retail investor seems to be crumbling: In 2021, under the synonym “WallStreetBets” retail investors systematically colluded in investment bets which eventually disrupted not only financial markets by distorting stock price formation of single firms but also systematically squeezed sizeable positions of institutional investors. The key question arises, how retail investors have changed, such that they not only became a source of price distortions and market turmoil but also endanger professional institutional investors. In this thesis, I study this changing role and investment behavior of retail investors, taking into account the retail investor’s wellestablished and researched behavioral characteristics to the changing environmental aspects such as regulation and the adaption and usage of technology for information gathering and collaboration. Based on the combination of those different research streams, I am able to deduct the sequential consequences of these developments for financial markets.

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Author:Laura Grundmann
Place of publication:Frankfurt am Main
Document Type:Bachelor Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2021/10/25
Year of first Publication:2021
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2021/08/01
Release Date:2021/11/08
Page Number:34
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 33 Wirtschaft / 330 Wirtschaft
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht