Keith Gill, the former MassMutual wellness education director who advocated for shares of GameStop in his free time, is prepared to tell a House committee on Thursday that he never provided investment advice for a fee and did not “solicit anyone to buy or sell the stock for my own profit.”
The statement made no mention of the fact that Mr. Gill was a registered securities broker and a chartered financial analyst while he was posting online about GameStop under the alias Roaring Kitty and another pseudonym that included a vulgarity.
In the five-page statement, Mr. Gill described himself as a true believer in the fortunes of GameStop, a video game retailer, and said his postings online about the company had nothing to do with his job at MassMutual. He portrayed himself as a one-person operation doing battle with wealthy hedge funds, some of which were shorting shares of GameStop and betting on its collapse.
“The idea that I used social media to promote GameStop stock to unwitting investors is preposterous,” Mr. Gill said in the statement, which his lawyer provided to the House Committee on Financial Services in advance of Thursday’s hearing into the speculative and aggressive trading last month in shares of GameStop. “I was abundantly clear that my channel was for educational purposes only, and that my aggressive style of investing was unlikely to be suitable for most folks checking out the channel.”
He said he had shared his investment ideas online because he “had reached a level where I felt sharing them publicly could help others.”
Mr. Gill described himself as an average guy who earned a modest income and was effectively out of work for two years before landing at MassMutual in April 2019. The statement skirted over how much money he had made trading shares of GameStop — though he said he had told his family at one point that “we were millionaires.” He also did not mention that Massachusetts securities regulators are investigating whether he violated any securities industry rules and regulations with his social media postings.
On Tuesday, Mr. Gill and his former employer were named as defendants in a proposed class-action lawsuit that claimed he misled retail investors who bought shares of GameStop during its 1,700 percent rally only to suffer losses when the stock quickly gave back most of those gains. The lawsuit contends that MassMutual and its brokerage arm did not properly supervise Mr. Gill, who was an employee until a few weeks ago.
Mr. Gill’s lawyer, William Taylor, declined to comment on the lawsuit. A spokeswoman for MassMutual said the company was reviewing the matter with Mr. Gill.
Mr. Gill is one of a half-dozen witnesses scheduled to testify at the hearing, which will focus on the impact of short selling, social media and hedge funds on retail investors and market speculation.
The winter storm that battered much of the United States over the holiday weekend continued to slow auto production across the Midwest on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, several automakers suspended or shut down production at plants from Texas to Indiana as rolling blackouts, natural gas shortages and extreme weather made operating difficult.
General Motors canceled day shifts on Wednesday at factories in Arlington, Texas, and Fort Wayne, Ind., but was back to normal schedules at its plants in Spring Hill, Tenn.; Wentzville, Mo.; and Bowling Green, Ky., a spokesman said.
Toyota canceled early shifts at plants in Tupelo, Miss., and San Antonio, the company said. Both plants were closed on Tuesday. The company’s factory in Georgetown, Ky., went back into operation Wednesday, although two hours later than usual. A plant in Princeton, Ind., that had been idle on Tuesday returned to its normal schedule on Wednesday.
Honda Motor said all of its plants were back to normal hours on Wednesday, a day after cold weather forced the cancellation of shifts at some factories.
The extreme weather has left millions without power and disrupted retail chains, delivery services and manufacturers across much of the South and Midwest. On Wednesday, Texas faced a new onslaught of sleet and freezing rain that the National Weather Service said could be “the worst of all the winter events over the past week.”