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Waters at Third Hearing on Ongoing Market Volatility: This Committee Is Focused on Ensuring Accountability for Wall Street

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, gave the following statement at a full Committee virtual hearing entitled, “Game Stopped? Who Wins and Loses When Short Sellers, Social Media, and Retail Investors Collide, Part III.” 

Today, this Committee convenes for part three of our series of hearings focused on market volatility related to GameStop and other stocks.  

In our first hearing on those events, we received testimony from the CEOs of trading app Robinhood, Wall Street firms Citadel and Melvin Capital, and social media company Reddit, as well as Keith Gill, a trader involved in the WallStreetBets subreddit. We heard directly from those involved in the short squeeze and volatility and we got the facts.  

In our second hearing, we received testimony from a number of capital markets experts and investor advocates, to hear their views and begin to assess possible legislative and regulatory steps that may be necessary.  

We have examined conflicts of interest in the market. We have scrutinized payment for order flow, potential systemic risks to our financial system, the gamification of trading, the clearance and settlement process for trades, and the evolution of trading with the rising use of social media and new technologies. 

Today, we will focus on the regulatory response to the market volatility. Specifically, we will hear testimony from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and the Deposit Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC) about their responses to events we are examining. 

It is critical for our cops on the block at the SEC to protect investors and ensure that our markets are transparent and fair. Unfortunately, the previous Administration’s appointees to financial regulatory agencies were often more interested in helping out Wall Street than protecting main street.  

I am very pleased that, thanks to President Biden’s strong leadership, we now have Gary Gensler at the helm at the SEC. Chair Gensler, I look forward to hearing your testimony and discussing your views on the short squeeze and surrounding events, as well as practices like payment for order flow. 

I am also interested in hearing from Mr. Cook and Mr. Bodson, the CEOs of private sector corporations FINRA, which oversees broker-dealers, and DTCC, which provides clearing and settlement services to our securities markets, respectively. 

Under my leadership, this Committee is focused on ensuring accountability for Wall Street. I decided to convene this series of three hearings on this topic to ensure that Congress is well-informed on developments in and around the functioning of our capital markets, and to put Wall Street on notice that we are watching closely.

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