Retail investors: the new lords of misrule
The Hertz share sale saga has baffled many in the industry, but it has illuminated a new type of feral retail investor that is winning grudging respect from some of the financial industry’s aristocrats.
Retail investors have played a big role in a rebound in global equity markets that seems bizarre in the context of Covid-related economic challenges, but makes more sense given the determination of central banks to support asset values.
Analysts from banks and asset management firms are increasingly shifting from bemusement at some of the antics of the new breed of retail investor to grudging respect for the collective wisdom of a crowd that seems willing to back any long shot in the hope of a profit.
Much of the attention to the boom in retail investor demand has been on the occasional excesses of customers of Robinhood, the commission-free trading app that is popular in the US.
A snapshot of volumes on Robinhood on June 17 shows that the stock with the biggest increase in trading popularity over the previous day was Genius Brands, a media company that has risen by around 2,000% since the worst of the equity market downturn in March, and was given a further boost by news that Arnold Schwarzenegger has agreed to take a big stake as part of his deal to star in the upcoming show ‘Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten’.