The CEO of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) sold $3.57 million of company stock just two weeks before the technology sector’s primary financial institution collapsed on Friday, according to federal filings.
SVB CEO and President Greg Becker on February 27 sold 12,451 shares of common stock at an average price of $287.42, or $3,578,652.31 in total.
Becker’s sale came two weeks before the stock plunged to $39.49 in the premarket Friday before the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) seized the bank’s assets. The bank had $209 billion in total assets at the time of failure, according to the FDIC.
Becker also purchased the same number of shares using stock options priced $105.18 each, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings show.
“The options, which allow you to buy a company’s stock at a set price, were due to expire May 2,” the Daily Mail reported.
However, these transactions were pre-planned and made through a trust Becker controls. The trust executed a trading plan he reportedly set up on January 26.
SVB CFO Daniel Beck similarly sold $575,180 on the same February day as Becker. Beck sold 2,000 shares at $287.59 per share in a pre-planned sell-off as part of his trading plan set up on January 24.
“Company insiders often use such plans to execute trades when certain conditions are met, such as price and volume. This serves to remove any potential that they may use their knowledge to beat the market,” the Daily Mail explained.
On Friday morning, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation appointed the FDIC to take control of SVB after a bank run began Thursday following the bank’s announcement of a plan to raise more than $2 billion in capital, alarming many venture capitalists and start-ups who hold money in the institution.