Steep gains in shares of GameStop Corp and other stocks this week have been described as populist market revolts. But among those out ahead are some of Wall Street’s largest asset managers, which can realize gains both from their share stakes and from lending out stocks to short sellers. Other beneficiaries include market-makers and trading systems that profit from huge volumes.
The mainstream media narrative is that a bunch of amateur traders on a Reddit message board, r/WallStreetBets, wanted to take down evil hedge funds, like Melvin Capital, that were shorting the stock of GameStop (making bets it would decline in price) so these egalitarian activists set out to pump up the stock price.
There are a lot of problems with this narrative. For starters, the trading platform that a lot of the traders at WallStreetBets uses is called Robinhood, a private company whose investors include private equity firms and – wait for it – hedge funds