Reply to Parliamentary Question on Stock Manipulation
QUESTION NO 1779
NOTICE PAPER 1130 OF 2022
FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
Date: For Parliament Sitting on 9 May 2022
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Murali Pillai, MP, Bukit Batok SMC
To ask the Prime Minister what steps have been identified to address the potential in the future of the use of social media bots to manipulate stock trading in the Singapore Exchange.
Answer by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:
1. There have been reports abroad of bots being used to promote securities on social media platforms, which may fuel speculative trading in those securities or trading based on false information.
2. MAS and Singapore Exchange Regco (SGX Regco) conduct surveillance and post-trade monitoring of the trading activity on SGX. When unusual trading behaviour is detected, analysts conduct further investigations, including surveillance of social media as needed, to detect and identify persons inciting the trading.
3. Thus far, MAS and SGX Regco have not detected bots being involved in cases of unusual trading activity. If we do, we will follow up with the social media service provider to identify the person controlling the bots, or request the provider to disable the social media account or remove the associated content. At the same time, we will work with SGX trading members to disrupt the suspicious trading activity. Depending on the circumstances, this could include measures like disabling trading accounts involved in the suspicious trades or suspending the trading of securities experiencing unexplained sharp price changes.
4. MAS, the Commercial Affairs Department of the Singapore Police Force and SGX Regco have previously issued public advisories1 on the risks related to trading in securities based on discussions on social media platforms. Members of the public should be wary of stock recommendations on such platforms, as the recommendations may not be made with good intent or even by real individuals.