The Small Investors Who Lost Big on Facebook's IPO

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Big Guy v. Little Guy narrative has emerged from this post-Facebook IPO fallout. We already know about the Big Guy -- Facebook and its underwriters -- but now we're starting to hear what those little guys have to say.

From Nasdaq glitches, to the way Morgan Stanley handled the pricing, this IPO has had many chances to leave the little guy hurting. While we've heard about them in the abstract, today we get some names and faces to go with the complaints via The New York Times' Nathaniel Popper and Bloomberg News' Danielle Kuceraand and Douglas MacMillan, who details all the ways these individual investors have tried to recuperate their Facebook losses. Spoiler alert: It's very frustrating.

The Investor Being Charged $3,805 for Shares He Never Bought

Meet John Hoag. Hoag bought zero shares of Facebook's stock, after canceling his orders. The brokerage firm he went through, Scottrade, is still charging him almost $4,000. He has made a formal complaint, but has yet to see any results. "They are just spitting in the face of the retail investor and protecting the people that are responsible for this I.P.O.," Hoag told Popper. Scottrade has defended itself, of course, pushing blame to Nasdaq. "Issues were industrywide and beyond our control," spokesman Whitney Ellis told Popper. 

Recommended Reading

The Investor Who Was Charged $40.50 for Shares He Didn't Want

Meet Scott Gursky. He bought 100 shares of Facebook through Fidelity. Later that day he received the following notification: "canceled verified." Then he received a note that later said he was charged $40.50 per share. "Once a transaction is complete, I’m pretty sure the legal precedent is that you can’t change your mind," Gursky told Popper. Like Hoag, he complained to Fidelity, who also pushed blame to Nasdaq.  "A Fidelity spokesman, Stephen Austin, said that all the problems customers had encountered 'were a result of Nasdaq reporting issues,'" writes Popper.

The Investor Who Lost a Chunk of His Retirement on a Glitch

Meet Ryan Cefalu. He bought twice as many shares as he intended because of the glitch, we learn from Bloomberg News' Danielle Kuceraand and Douglas MacMillan. He lost $4,000 that day.  “That’s about a 12th of my annual income — so a month’s salary," he said.

The Investor Who Lost $3,000 on His First Trade Ever

Meet Michael McClafferty. This 19-year-old finance major at Michigan State says he spend over $8,000 on repeat trades because of the glitch. "I didn’t want to lose more,” McClafferty told Kuceraand and MacMillan. "I didn’t know what to do." Fidelity again pushed the blame to Nasdaq telling Bloomberg, "[it is working to] get Nasdaq to come to a resolution that addresses the concerns of our customers.”

Though some financial institutions, like Morgan Stanley, said it would take the loss for customers, as the above experiences show, many have shrugged the blame to Nasdaq. So, Nasdaq, your move. From Popper: 

Nasdaq executives have said that the exchange’s legal liability will be limited to the $3 million cap set by regulations. Nasdaq is putting aside another $10 million to cover customer losses. It has asked its members, including brokerage and trading firms, to submit any complaints before Monday.

Though, Javier Paz, a brokerage analyst, told Popper he thinks this will all likely get stuck in court. In the meantime, these people are still out thousands.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.