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Fake news infiltrates financial markets

来源:FT中文网    2017-05-17 06:44

        On January 18 2012, an article appeared on Seeking Alpha, the finance-focused website, entitled “Another revival could be in store for ImmunoCellular Therapeutics”. The article highlighted the US drug company’s work in developing an experimental cancer treatment.        2012年1月18日,财经网站Seeking Alpha上刊出了一篇题为《ImmunoCellular Therapeutics或将迎来又一次复兴》(Another revival could be in store for ImmunoCellular Therapeutics)的文章。文中介绍了这家美国制药企业在开发一种癌症实验疗法方面的进展。
        But readers were not informed that ImmunoCellular Therapeutics had paid the author, Vincent Cassano, indirectly to produce the story, according to documents filed at a court in New York by the US regulator in April.        但读者未获知的是,ImmunoCellular Therapeutics为了促成这篇报道向其作者文森特•卡萨诺(Vincent Cassano)间接支付了酬劳,今年4月美国监管当局向纽约某法庭提交的一批文件证明了这一情况。
        The article suggested that ImmunoCellular Therapeutics had produced an important cancer treatment, known as ICT-107, which was less costly than a rival product that had already received approval from US regulators.        这篇报道声称,ImmunoCellular Therapeutics研发出了一种重要的癌症疗法,这种名为ICT-107的疗法比现已获得美国监管当局批准的另一种竞争产品成本更低。
        In the months that followed, ImmunoCellular Therapeutics’ share price rose strongly, from $42.8 on the day before the article was published to an all-time high of $155.2 by the start of June 2012, a gain of 263 per cent.        在随后的几个月里,ImmunoCellular Therapeutics的股价强劲上涨,从这篇文章发表前一日的每股42.8美元,到2012年6月1日攀升至历史最高点每股155.2美元,涨幅高达263%。
        However, following a disappointing clinical update on the ICT-107 cancer treatment in December 2013, the drug company’s share price fell sharply. Last week it was languishing at around $2.23.        但随着2013年12月公布的ICT-107癌症疗法临床试验新结果令人失望,这家制药企业的股价大幅下跌。
        The article was one of at least 200 that appeared without appropriate disclosure of payment on the Seeking Alpha website between August 2011 and March 2014, according to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.        来自美国证券交易委员会(Securities and Exchange Commission)的信息显示,2011年8月至2014年3月间,Seeking Alpha网站至少发表了200篇未恰当披露有偿发表性质的有偿文章,这篇文章就是其中之一。
        A spokesperson for ImmunoCellular Therapeutics said it “co-operated fully” with the SEC’s investigation. A spokesperson for Seeking Alpha says the company also co-operated fully with the SEC, and that it supported the regulator’s efforts to put unethical stock promoters out of business.        ImmunoCellular Therapeutics的一位发言人表示,该公司“百分之百地配合了”美国证券交易委员会的调查。Seeking Alpha的一位发言人则称,该公司也全力配合了美国证券交易委员会,并支持该监管机构将违反职业道德的股票炒作者从行业中清除出去的行动。
        The court documents show the regulator identified articles published without the appropriate disclosure of payment across a wide range of investment websites including Benzinga, Wall Street Cheat Sheet, TheStreet, MarketPlayground, Investor Village, Investing.com and Forbes, as well as Seeking Alpha.        法庭文件显示,美国证券交易委员会筛查出的未做恰当信息披露的有偿报道来源广泛,涉及了包括Benzinga、Wall Street Cheat Sheet、TheStreet、MarketPlayground、Investor Village、Investing.com、福布斯(Forbes)以及Seeking Alpha在内的多个投资类网站。
        Jim McCaughan, chief executive of Principal Global Investors, the $411bn Des Moines-based multi-boutique asset manager, says of the US watchdog’s findings: “It reminds me of The Wolf of Wall Street movie, but updated for the digital age. This is a more sophisticated online version of the old penny-stock scams, where non-existent companies were ramped up with fake new stories.”        信安环球投资公司(Principal Global Investors)首席执行官吉姆•麦考恩(Jim McCaughan)在谈到美国证券交易委员会发现的上述情况时表示:“这让我想起了那部名为《华尔街之狼》(The Wolf of Wall Street)的电影,不过背景更新成了数字时代。这是传统分值股票(penny-stock)骗局的一个更加复杂的网络版本,毫无价值的公司被虚假新闻报道拉抬起来。”信安环球投资公司总部位于得梅因(Des Moines),旗下资产规模达4110亿美元,由多家精品资产管理公司组成。
        The SEC has since filed charges of fraud against three public companies, seven communications businesses, two chief executives and nine writers for their involvement in what the US regulator described as a “sophisticated stock promotion scheme”.        美国证券交易委员会到目前为止已向三家公众公司、七家传媒企业、两名首席执行官以及九名作者提出了欺诈指控,因为他们参与了该监管机构所谓的“复杂股票炒作活动”。
        Seventeen of those charged have already agreed to pay settlements or penalties ranging from $2,200 to nearly $3m.        已有17个受到指控的对象同意向美国证券交易委员会支付和解金或罚款,金额从2200美元至近300万美元不等。
        The SEC continues to pursue action against 10 other individuals after this latest alleged attempt to manipulate stock prices through the dissemination of so-called fake news.        在涉嫌通过散播所谓的“虚假新闻”操纵股票价格的最新行为出现之后,美国证券交易委员会还在继续追究另外10人的责任。
        The phrase, popularised by Donald Trump, the US president, during his election campaign last year, refers to articles that deliberately mislead readers to advance an agenda, such as smearing a political candidate.        美国总统唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)在他去年的竞选活动期间让“虚假新闻”一词流行起来,该词指的是有意误导读者以实现某种目的(例如抹黑一名政治候选人)的新闻报道。
        Regulators are now increasingly concerned that fake news is affecting investment decisions.        监管当局眼下日益担心虚假新闻正影响投资决策。
        The scale of the latest scandal prompted the SEC to issue a fresh warning that seemingly independent commentary on investment research websites might in fact be part of a paid stock-promotion campaign.        最新爆出的这批丑闻规模之大促使美国证券交易委员会发布了新的警告——投资研究类网站上看似独立的评论文章,事实上可能是有偿股票炒作行动的一部分。
        “Keep in mind that fraudsters may generate articles promoting a company’s stock to drive up the stock price and to profit at your expense,” the SEC said.        美国证券交易委员会称:“投资者应时刻牢记,欺诈者可能通过炮制推介某家公司股票的文章来拉高股价,让自己获利、让你蒙受损失。”
        Andrew Clare, professor of asset management at Cass Business School in London, says fake news stories can distort the efficient allocation of capital across the stock market by attracting unwary investors to fraudulent companies.        伦敦卡斯商学院(Cass Business School)资产管理学教授安德鲁•克莱尔(Andrew Clare)表示,虚假新闻能够将不谨慎的投资者引向欺诈性公司,进而扭曲资本在股票市场上的有效配置。
        “These stories ultimately lead to losses for investors once the truth is uncovered,” says Prof Clare. “This illustrates the importance of fund managers and other investors performing detailed due diligence to guard against third-party stock pumping. Regulators also need to ensure that the direct and indirect sources of such reports are clear.”        “一旦真相大白,这些报道最终将给投资者带来损失,”克莱尔教授表示,“由此也体现出基金管理方以及其他投资者履行尽职调查的重要性,以此来防范第三方炒作股价的情况。监管当局也应确保此类报道的直接和间接消息来源清楚透明。”
        Mr McCaughan adds that the growth of fake news is an issue that could affect professional money managers, especially those that rely on computer-driven strategies, as well as retail investors.        麦考恩补充称,虚假新闻的快速增长是一个可能对专业资产管理方造成影响的问题,特别是那些依赖计算机驱动型交易策略的管理者以及零售投资者。
        “Fake news is potentially a problem for quantitative managers. Quants are increasingly making use of big data and complex new data sources and they will have to be aware of the distortions that fake news could introduce,” he says.        他表示:“虚假新闻对于量化管理者们来说是一个潜在问题。量化机构现已越来越多地利用大数据以及复杂的新数据源,他们必须认识到虚假新闻可能引致的数据扭曲。”
        The SEC’s investigation centred on a stock promotion company called Lindingo that was owned and operated by Kamilla Bjorlin, an actress who performs under the stage name of Milla Bjorn. She appeared in Misconduct, a 2016 movie starring Al Pacino and Anthony Hopkins.        美国证券交易委员会的调查集中于一家名为Lindingo的股票推广公司。该公司的运营和所有者是卡米拉•比约林(Kamilla Bjorlin),她是一名女演员,在银幕上的艺名是米拉•比约恩(Milla Bjorn)。她参演了电影《渎职》(Misconduct),这部2016年上映的电影由阿尔•帕西诺(Al Pacino)和安东尼•霍普金斯(Anthony Hopkins)主演。
        Lindingo allegedly orchestrated the publication of more than 400 articles about 11 publicly traded companies across investment websites, and received at least $1m in cash and equity for its services, according to documents filed by the SEC with a court in New York in April.        美国证券交易委员会今年4月向纽约某法庭提交的文件显示,Lindingo涉嫌一手策划了超过400篇有偿报道在多个投资类网站的发表,这些报道涉及11家上市公司,并因其提供的服务收到了价值至少100万美元的现金和股份。
        At least 50 articles about ImmunoCellular Therapeutics were paid for by Lindingo.        至少有50篇关于ImmunoCellular Therapeutics的有偿报道由Lindingo支付酬劳。
        Manish Singh, chief executive of ImmunoCellular Therapeutics between 2008 and August 2012, allegedly instructed Lindingo to tell writers not to disclose they were being paid to write about specific stocks. One of Mr Singh’s emails to Lindingo in May 2012 acknowledged that disclosing payment for articles would “raise a red flag for investors”, according to the court document filed by the SEC.        马尼什•辛格(Manish Singh)在2008年至2012年8月间担任ImmunoCellular Therapeutics的首席执行官。他涉嫌指示Lindingo告诉作者,不要披露他们收取报酬撰写关于某些股票的文章的情况。美国证券交易委员会提交法庭的文件显示,辛格在2012年5月发给Lindingo的一封邮件中承认,公布文章的有偿性质将“引起投资者的警觉”。
        Jan Dwarshuis, chief investment officer at Thirteen Asset Management, a Swiss boutique, says biotechnology stocks are particularly vulnerable to online manipulation as it is often unclear how successful their experimental products might be.        扬•达惠斯(Jan Dwarshuis)是Thirteen Asset Management的首席投资官,这是一家总部设在瑞士的精品资产管理机构。达惠斯称,生物科技类股票尤其易于受到网络操纵,因为很难判断这类公司的实验性产品可能获得多大成功。
        “Fake news is now becoming a serious problem for financial markets,” says Mr Dwarshuis, who has built an in-house news service with more than 1,500 sources over the past decade in an effort to assemble more reliable information.        “虚假新闻正在成为影响金融市场的一个严重问题,”达惠斯说。过去十年间他在公司内部建立起了一个涵盖超过1500个消息源的新闻服务部门,希望借此收集更加可靠的信息。
        “I can now filter news and trace the real background of information sources. Even so, I feel increasingly vulnerable to fake news,” he says, adding that more regulatory scrutiny of the media might be required to tackle this problem.        “现在我能够过滤新闻,并追踪消息源的真实背景。但即便如此,我还是感到自己越来越容易被虚假新闻骗过,”他表示。他还补充称,为了解决这一问题,或有必要强化对媒体的监管审查。
        Class-action law firms are circling some of the companies that benefited from sharp share-price rises after their company paid to have flattering content written about them online. But despite legal and regulatory pressure, the problem is unlikely to be addressed in the near term, according to Lars Hamberg, a former fund manager who now runs Gavagai, a Swedish technology company that specialises in text analytics.        主攻集体诉讼的律师事务所已经开始圈出某些公司作为潜在目标,这些公司在付费让人在网上发表关于他们的溢美之词以后,享受到了股价暴涨的好处。但在前基金经理拉尔斯•汉伯格(Lars Hamberg)看来,尽管存在司法和监管压力,虚假新闻问题在短期内不太可能得到解决。汉伯格目前掌管瑞典科技公司Gavagai,该公司专攻文本分析。
        He says criminals and government-sponsored operators are using innovative methods everywhere they can to make money or influence people in very sophisticated ways.        汉伯格指出,犯罪分子以及政府资助的运营机构都正在尽可能地到处运用创新方法,通过非常复杂的手段赚取利润或影响民众。
        He says his company can detect fake news stories by analysing how information is shared across the internet. But these issues go far beyond the US market. “Fake news is a problem everywhere,” he says.        他表示,他的公司能够通过分析信息在互联网上的传播方式甄别虚假新闻。但这些问题远远超出了美国市场的范围。“虚假新闻已经成了存在于各个地方的问题,”他说。
        Fund managers around the world are increasing their efforts to avoid being caught out by insincere online information.        全球各地的基金经理正在加强努力,以防中了虚假网络信息的招。
        Nicolas Roth, head of alternative assets at Reyl, a Geneva-based private bank, says several investments managers have developed news-parsing systems that are directly linked to automated trading programmes. These trading programmes can have a significant impact on a company’s share price, but they can potentially be gamed or exploited by traders or individuals disseminating false information.        Reyl的另类资产业务主管尼古拉斯•罗斯(Nicolas Roth)表示,多家投资管理机构已经开发出了与自动交易程序直接连接的新闻语义分析系统。这些交易程序能对一家公司的股票价格产生重大影响,但它们也可能被散布虚假信息的交易员或个人耍弄或钻空子。Reyl是一家总部设在日内瓦的私人银行。
        “It is not unthinkable that we will one day see a large market event based on fake news,” says Mr Roth.        “有一天我们或将看到虚假消息激起的重大市场事件,这并非异想天开,”罗斯表示。
        “Investors should acknowledge that if a potential shortcut appears obvious, then it is probably unwise to take it. Ultimately, it all boils down to thorough analysis and due diligence, whether in investments or with news.”        “投资者应当认识到,如果有一条看起来显而易见的潜在捷径,那么选择这条捷径很可能将是不明智的。最终起决定作用的还是缜密的分析和尽职调查,不论是对投资还是对新闻。”

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