Wall Street’s top brokers are quietly tightening their rules for who can bet against retail traders’ most-popular stocks

Great news for retail. Now the hedge funds can’t keep adding to their position at higher prices to avoid getting margin called.

Wall Street’s top brokers are quietly tightening their rules for who can bet against retail traders’ most-popular meme stocks.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Jefferies Financial Group Inc. are among firms that have adjusted their risk controls at prime-brokerage operations, according to people familiar with the moves. The banks are trying to protect themselves against fallout from extreme surges and dips that have characterized trading in companies including AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., MicroVision Inc. and GameStop Corp.

The changes mean some hedge funds and other institutional investors now face higher collateral requirements or are limited from shorting certain stocks, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing internal policy decisions.

Until further notice, Jefferies Prime Brokerage will no longer offer custody on naked options” in GameStop, AMC and MicroVision, the firm said in a memo to clients seen by Bloomberg News. Naked options allow investors to short a stock without owning the underlying securities. Jefferies, which told clients that other stocks may be added to the list, will also no longer permit short sales of those securities.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-04/wall-street-banks-rein-in-hedge-funds-short-bets-on-meme-stocks

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