SEC vows to protect ‘retail investors,’ amid GameStop frenzy

The Securities and Exchange Commission, the nation’s top financial regulator, said on Friday it is reviewing recent trading volatility that has led to a meteoric rise in GameStop and AMC Entertainment and other stocks.

In a statement, the SEC vowed to to protect individual, retail traders and also promised to scrutinize actions taken by brokerages that may “disadvantage investors or otherwise unduly inhibit their ability to trade certain securities.”

“We will act to protect retail investors when the facts demonstrate abusive or manipulative trading activity that is prohibited by the federal securities laws,” the SEC said in a release.

“The Commission is working closely with our regulatory partners, both across the government and at FINRA and other self-regulatory organizations, including the stock exchanges, to ensure that regulated entities uphold their obligations to protect investors and to identify and pursue potential wrongdoing,” the regulator added.

The statement came as a handful of heavily shorted equities soared on Friday, with shares of high-flying stocks like video game retailer GameStop, theater operator AMC and headphone maker Koss rallying 50 percent, 53 percent and 43 percent, respectively.

The SEC’s pledge to clamp down on brokerages that may have “unduly” limited customers’ ability to trade in the speculative names likely comes as good news to members of WallStreetBets Reddit and other retail traders.

Many individual trades took to Twitter and other social media platforms on Thursday to protest Robinhood’s decision to restrict access to the high-flying names at the center of the controversy.