Mass. investor known as Roaring Kitty tells Congress he didnt …

Roaring Kitty

Mass. investor known as Roaring Kitty tells Congress he didnt …

Keith Gill, who became the public face of the companys huge stock surge, testified on Thursday that he was not involved in any coordinated effort to affect the …
Mass. investor known as ‘Roaring Kitty’ tells Congress he didn’t coordinate on GameStop stock – The Boston Globe

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Mass. investor known as ‘Roaring Kitty’ tells Congress he didn’t coordinate on GameStop stockKeith Gill, who became the public face of the company’s huge stock surge, testified on Thursday.By Globe Staff,Updated February 18, 2021, 9:22 a.m.Email to a Friend

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Keith Gill testified before a Congressional committee on Thursday.Screenshot from the Financial Services Committee's YouTube

The Congressional hearing took place as Gill faces an inquiry from the office of Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, which is looking into whether Gill’s social media activity complied with state regulations.

Gill, who until last month worked for the financial services company MassMutual, to sell most kinds of investments and offer financial advice. A key question for regulators is whether Gill’s online posts were a private hobby or a professional endeavor that should have been disclosed to his employer.

On Tuesday, Gill and his former employer were named as defendants in a proposed class-action lawsuit that claimed he misled individual investors who bought shares of GameStop during its 1,700 percent rally only to suffer losses when the stock quickly gave back most of those gains.

MassMutual has said it is reviewing the matter.

Gill said when speaking to the committee Thursday that he did not sell stocks as part of his job at the firm, where he produced content for use in a financial wellness education program.

GameStop, which traded for most of last year in the $4 to $5 range, briefly hit $483 per share in late January. On Thursday, it fell 11 percent to $40.69.

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Gill was not a major focal point of the hourslong hearing, which largely focused on the mechanics of the stock market, the decision by Robinhood to temporarily suspend buying of GameStop, and how to make sure individual investors are treated fairly by the powerful interests on Wall Street.

Some questioned him on his investment philosophy, others congratulated him on his success. Representative Nydia M. Velázquez, a New York City Democrat, attempted to question Gill about his regulatory status, but her time for questioning ran out before he answered.

Asked by another lawmaker whether he’d say GameStop stock remains a good investment, he said he would. He noted, however, that not everyone would agree. Gill said later that when he initially invested in the stock in mid-2019 at around $5 per share, he thought it was “possible but a very low probability” that it would hit the heights it reached late last month. He said he continues to own shares.

On Reddit, Wallstreetbets members greeted Gill’s appearance as the return of a conquering hero, delighting in his small references to the message board’s culture. They launched a fusillade of memes, for instance, when he said the commonly used line “I like the stock.”

“This man is an absolute legend,” one user wrote. “Put him on the ballot in 2024.”

Gill, in his written testimony, characterized his investing as a personal pursuit — and a somewhat lonely one at first. He noted that, before the GameStop rally, his online activity got little attention even from fellow users. He described his audience at the end of last year as “tiny.”

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“The reality was people didn’t really care about boring, repetitive analysis of GameStop and other stocks, and that was fine,” Gill said.

Gill said his investment success was a bright spot in a difficult 2020, a year in which his sister, Sara, died unexpectedly. He also said that when he landed the job at MassMutual in 2019, it was a respite from a long period of professional uncertainty as he bounced between jobs in the financial industry.

The increase in his stock holdings around the holidays gave him and his family something to be happy about, Gill said in written testimony.

“It brought me tremendous joy to share good news with my family for a change,” he said. “I am grateful to be able to give back to my community and to support my family, most of all my wife Caroline who has stuck with me through very tough times.”

Material from The New York Times was used in this report.

Andy Rosen can be reached at . Follow him on Twitter .

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