Hollywood Movie Leads to New Financial Regulation

We were looking for a Christmas movie to watch, so I looked into Rotten Tomatoes list of the 55 Best Christmas movies of all time.

One movie that caught my eye was Trading Places.

First, I never considered it a Christmas movie, but I guess that like Die Hard, since it is set during Christmas, it qualifies as such. Second, after having watched part of Eddie Murphy’s triumphant return to SNL this past week, I was in the mood for some more Eddie Murphy. And finally, it’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie (it was released in 1983), but I vaguely recall it was entertaining.

So the decision was made, and it turned out to be a good one; we all enjoyed the movie (although not sure I’d say it put me in the Christmas spirit).

But what was really interesting was when my wife told me after the movie that the plot actually led to a new financial regulation, often referred to as the Eddie Murphy rule.

In 2010, Commodity Futures Trading Commission chief Gary Gensley referenced “Trading Places” on the floor of Congress:

“We have recommended banning using misappropriated government information to trade in the commodity markets. In the movie Trading Places, starring Eddie Murphy, the Duke brothers intended to profit from trades in frozen concentrated orange juice futures contracts using an illicitly obtained and not yet public Department of Agriculture orange crop report. Characters played by Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd intercept the misappropriated report and trade on it to profit and ruin the Duke brothers. In real life, using such misappropriated government information actually is not illegal under our statute. To protect our markets, we have recommended what we call the “Eddie Murphy” rule to ban insider trading using nonpublic information misappropriated from a government source.”

Officially, this law is Section 136 of the Wall Street Transparency and Accountability Act of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, under Section 746.

What I find strange is that while insider trading in stocks was illegal, such trading was not illegal in the commodities market.

Who knew that a Hollywood plotline would lead to new financial regulations 27 years later.

Truth may be stranger than fiction, but sometimes fiction may become the law.

6 thoughts on “Hollywood Movie Leads to New Financial Regulation

  1. It is one of my favorite movies. It is so politically incorrect that I don’t believe it would ever be made/released today. The movie is also briefly referenced in Murphy’s “Coming to America” I’ve read that they just finished shooting the sequel to that movie.

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  2. we were saying the same thing while we were watching the movie – we thought there were certain lines that would never be uttered today. I don’t think I’ve ever watched Coming to America in its entirety; maybe now I should so that I am ready for the sequel.

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