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Regulation and Compliance > State Regulation > Massachusetts

MassMutual to Pay $4M Fine Over 'Roaring Kitty' Posts

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What You Need to Know

  • MassMutual failed to supervise Keith Patrick Gill as he posted more than 10 days' worth of YouTube videos and hundreds of social media posts.
  • Those posts fueled a steep run-up in GameStop stock.
  • MassMutual has agreed to undergo an independent compliance review of its social media policies.

William Galvin, Massachusetts’ top securities regulator, on Thursday ordered MML Investors Services LLC, a subsidiary of MassMutual, to overhaul its social media policies and pay a $4 million fine over the company’s failure to supervise agents, including Keith Patrick Gill, known as Roaring Kitty.

Gill, known for his YouTube streams under the alias Roaring Kitty and a string of Reddit posts as DeepF***ingValue, drove a sudden increase in GameStop stock trading earlier this year.

According to consent orders signed this week, MassMutual has agreed to undergo an independent compliance review of its social media policies and trading by its broker-dealer agents.

The company will also be subject to a three-year compliance audit.

An inquiry into Gill’s registration in Massachusetts is still pending, according to Galvin’s office.

“It’s clear that MassMutual was not as diligent as it should have been in supervising its employees,” Galvin said Thursday in a statement. “It took the media less than a day to identify the person behind the Roaring Kitty posts, while his own employer took no notice of his online persona.”

Gill was employed by MassMutual from April 2019 until January 2021, a period in which he frequently posted videos and other materials online regarding investments and trading, according to the consent order.

The period of Gill’s employment overlapped with his involvement in the GameStop and meme stock frenzy that occurred in late 2020 and early 2021.

While employed by MassMutual, Gill was responsible for creating educational content for use by MassMutual broker-dealer agents to present to individuals.

According to the order, MML failed to supervise Gill, who was registered as a broker-dealer agent and subject to regulatory supervision. MML’s policies and procedures, the order states, were “inadequate to detect Gill’s social media activities, including over 250 hours, or 10 days’ worth of YouTube videos detailing investment strategies, at least 590 securities related tweets on Twitter, and a similar volume of posts on other social media platforms all concerning securities related information.”

The inquiry opened by Galvin’s Securities Division in late January showed that MassMutual failed to detect or monitor nearly 1,700 trades effected by Gill in the accounts of three other individuals, as well as transactions effected by Gill that were nearly double MassMutual’s per-transaction limit of $250,000.

Also without notice of his employer, Gill was able to execute at least two trades in GameStop in excess of $700,000.

In a separate, unrelated order against MML, Galvin ordered the BD to seek registration of 478 broker-dealer agents and pay a $750,000 administrative fine.