Bloomberg article on beneficial owners leads with ignorance of securities lending

On top of countless instances of misunderstandings, bias and plain old errors in the press about securities lending, we now present Bloomberg’s article, Biggest Players in the Short-Selling Game Are Getting a Pass. The article’s title and premise suggests impropriety where none exists, in spite of good data and quotes from industry participants later on. What a shame.

It’s in the air again, on Reddit, in Congress, in the C-suite: Hedge funds that get rich off short-selling are the enemy. The odd thing is, the biggest players in the game are getting a pass.

Those would be the asset managers, pension plans and sovereign wealth funds that provide the vast majority of securities used to take bearish positions. Without the likes of BlackRock Inc. and State Street Corp., the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the Kuwait Investment Authority filling such an elemental role, investors such as Gabe Plotkin, whose Melvin Capital Management became a piñata for day traders in the GameStop Corp. saga, wouldn’t have shares to sell short.

It’s a situation that on the surface defies logic. Given the popular belief that short sellers create unjustified losses in some stocks, why would shareholders want to supply the ammunition for attacks against their investments? The explanation is fairly straight forward: By loaning out securities for a small fee plus interest, they can generate extra income that boosts returns. That’s key in an industry where fund managers are paid to beat benchmarks and especially valuable in a world of low yields.

The full article is available at

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