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Corporate Bosses Make Well-Timed Stock Sales in SEC ‘Blind Spot’

  • Agency has long urged executives to plan sales far in advance
  • Yet studies show loose rules have let many unload shares fast
Miles White
Miles WhitePhotographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images

When Abbott Laboratories chief Miles White cashed out $32 million of stock and options in 2019, shareholders had reason to shrug it off. Online regulatory filings said the sales were part of a “previously adopted plan” -- a sign they weren’t based on any current inside information.

It turns out, the disposals that Monday had been set up the previous Friday. To learn that detail, investors would have to track down the plan he filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission by traveling to the agency’s headquarters in Washington, clearing security and digging into a filing cabinet.