Wachtell Lipton Urges SEC to Strengthen Regulations Against Short Selling of Bank Stocks
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

In a recent development that has raised concerns in the US banking industry, renowned law firm Wachtell Lipton has called upon the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to take action against the practice of short-selling bank stocks. The firm, known for its expertise in representing companies in legal matters, particularly those involving hedge funds and investors seeking to influence management decisions or implement strategy changes, has issued a memo to its clients emphasizing the need for increased regulation in this area.

Short selling is a speculative trading strategy in which investors bet against the performance of specific stocks. It involves borrowing shares from a broker and selling them in the market, with the intention of repurchasing them at a lower price in the future, thus profiting from the decline in stock value. This practice has come under scrutiny in the aftermath of the recent collapses of SVB and First Republic, which have led to a significant downturn in the shares of other banks this week.

Wachtell Lipton’s memo, titled “Abusive Short Selling: Once Again, It’s Time to Act,” was authored by Edward Herlihy, co-chairman of the firm’s Executive Committee, and Matthew Guest, a partner at the firm. Given the firm’s reputation and influence, its memos are widely read and often serve as a catalyst for legal and regulatory discussions. In this instance, the firm’s memo highlights the urgent need for the SEC to intervene and curb abusive short-selling practices.


The request for increased regulation on short selling is indicative of the prevailing anxiety and stress within the financial system. The last time the SEC implemented a ban on short selling was during the 2008 financial crisis, underscoring the severity of the situation. Wachtell Lipton’s call for action suggests that similar measures may be necessary to restore stability and confidence in the banking industry.

Connect with qualified, experienced attorneys by submitting your job openings with BCG Attorney Search.

While short selling can serve legitimate purposes, such as hedging or price discovery, it can also be susceptible to abuse and manipulation. Critics argue that aggressive short selling can exacerbate market volatility and contribute to a downward spiral in stock prices. Therefore, it is crucial for regulatory bodies like the SEC to strike a balance between allowing healthy market activities and preventing potential market manipulation and systemic risks.

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!

The memo from Wachtell Lipton reflects the concerns of many industry participants who fear that unchecked short-selling could have detrimental effects on the stability and integrity of the banking sector. By urging the SEC to take action, the law firm seeks to protect its clients’ interests and promote market transparency.

Read the full Wachtell memo here:

“The country needs a prompt, tailored response by the SEC to coordinated short attacks that are putting our economy at great risk. In recent trading sessions, the short strategy consisting of “pile-on and wait” has targeted safe and sound regional and community banks and shaken the market’s confidence. Skyrocketing short interest levels have created a relentless downward pressure on the banks’ equities that bears little or no relationship to fundamental performance. The targeted banks are the engine of American economic activity, with their local presence and knowledge allowing for responsible underwriting of the agricultural, small business and middle-market lending that sustains production and employment. 

The distress faced by the banks that failed was undoubtedly the result of some mix of poor risk management and challenges from the extraordinarily rapid change in interest rate conditions created by the Federal Reserve. But, despite this, potentially viable private sector, open bank resolution attempts were stymied by short-seller driven market death spirals that overwhelmed rationality. 

Unnecessarily shaken by the curious and seemingly pre-ordained outcome of the First Republic auction, confidence in America’s mid-size and smaller banks remains under attack. Just as we wrote during the Financial Crisis, decisive, focused action from the Commission is necessary to appropriately regulate coordinated short attacks that profit trading firms at the expense of small retail investors, employees and retirees. Similar to their action in 2008, we urge the Commission today to impose a 15-trading day prohibition on short sales of regulated financial institutions to allow time for the banking regulators to work on steps to restore confidence, and for the market to absorb fundamental information and work as it should. Other longer-term solutions may include reinstitution of the traditional up-tick rule, and aggressive enforcement combating abusive short sales, market manipulation and groups acting in concert. Absent prompt action, strong banks, employees, communities and the American consumer may continue to bear the high costs of unnecessary and unjustified distress.”

How the SEC will respond to this call for action remains to be seen. Regulators face the delicate task of addressing the concerns raised by Wachtell Lipton without impeding legitimate market activities or hindering the efficiency of price discovery mechanisms. Striking the right balance will require a comprehensive understanding of the potential risks associated with short selling and careful consideration of the broader implications for market participants.

As the debate on short-selling regulations unfolds, market participants, investors, and banking institutions will closely monitor the developments. The outcome of this discussion could have far-reaching consequences for the stability of the banking industry and the overall health of financial markets.

In conclusion, the memo issued by Wachtell Lipton, a leading US law firm, urging the SEC to address concerns related to short selling in the US banking industry has sparked widespread attention. The call for increased regulation highlights the need to balance market activities and prevent potential abuse and manipulation. As industry stakeholders eagerly await the SEC’s response, the outcome of this regulatory discourse will significantly impact the future of short-selling practices in the banking sector and the overall stability of the financial system.



Associate Attorney


ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY McKenna Snyder LLC, a law firm in Exton, PA has an immediate opening for an ex...

Apply now



Qualifications: HaasCaywood is seeking associate attorneys for our Coldwater and Sturgis, Michiga...

Apply now



Qualifications: HaasCaywood is seeking associate attorneys for our Coldwater and Sturgis, Michiga...

Apply now

Insurance Defense Trial Attorney/ Senior Counsel

USA-CA-San Francisco

Job description Trial Attorney - Personal Injury Defense Full Job Description Hickey Smith ...

Apply now




Search Now

Education Law Attorney

USA-CA-El Segundo

El Segundo office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks an education law attorney with ...

Apply Now

Education Law Attorney


Carlsbad office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks an education law attorney with 4-...

Apply Now

Education Law and Public Entity Attorney

USA-CA-El Segundo

El Segundo office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks an education law and public ent...

Apply Now

Most Popular


To Top