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A subsidiary of MassMutual has agreed to pay a $4 million fine to resolve accusations involving Keith Gill, the former employee who gained wide notoriety under the name “Roaring Kitty” on YouTube for his astronomical gains during the GameStop stock rally earlier this year.

MassMutual, the Springfield-based financial services giant, also agreed to overhaul its social media policies to better detect whether its employees are in compliance with company rules on social media as part of an agreement with the office of Secretary of State William Galvin.

In an 18-page consent order signed on Tuesday, the secretary of state’s office, which regulates the securities industry, portrayed MassMutual as repeatedly failing to detect Gill’s voluminous social media activities, including over 250 hours of YouTube videos in which he detailed investment strategy.


Until his termination in late January, Gill, a licensed broker-dealer, was responsible for creating educational material used by MassMutual as a marketing tool to attract new customers, the consent order says.

At the same time, Gill, in his spare time, used a half-dozen social media platforms “almost exclusively” for “discussing, analyzing and promoting GameStop,” a brick-and-mortar video game, consumer electronics, and gaming merchandise retailer, the order says.

“Gill had gained tens of thousands of followers … and his social media posts were oft cited as a driving force behind the market volatility surrounding GameStop in late January,” the order says.

His overlapping roles caught the attention of the secretary of state’s office, which began an investigation into possible violations of securities laws and regulations.

The consent order filed this week focuses on MassMutual, not Gill, who was named as a “related person” in the secretary of state’s “statement of facts.”

Gill, responding to a subpoena, testified before the secretary of state’s Division of Securities earlier this year. He is still under investigation, a spokeswoman for the office said.


Under longstanding rules, MassMutual prohibits its broker-dealers from discussing generic securities and company business on social media, including specifically YouTube and Twitter, the order says.

Gill, a Brockton native who is in his mid-30s, made at least 590 security-related statements on Twitter, the order says.

The secretary of state’s office also said MassMutual “failed to monitor or detect nearly 1,700 trades effected by Gill in the accounts of three other individuals,” an apparent violation of company rules, the order says.

In addition, the secretary of state’s office said MassMutual failed to detect that Gill made two transactions in amounts that exceeded the company’s limit of $250,000, the order says. Those two transactions totaled almost $1.5 million, the order says.

In an internal e-mail quoted in the order, a MassMutual employee wrote on the day of Gill’s termination: “It is clear that these actions were not in line with MassMutual’s code of conduct, ethics policies, and are potentially a violations of regulatory laws.”

Galvin, in his office’s press release, said “MassMutual was not as diligent as it should have been in supervising its employees. It took the media less than a day to identify the person behind the Roaring Kitty posts, while his own employer took no notice of his online persona.”

A spokesperson for MassMutual released this statement on Thursday: “MassMutual is pleased to put this matter behind us, avoiding the expense and distraction associated with protracted litigation.”

Gill’s lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.


During an appearance before a congressional committee in February, Gill testified that he did substantial research into GameStop before investing in it, but disputed any significant role in its market surge.

“The idea that I used social media to promote GameStop stock to unwitting investors and influence the market is preposterous,” he testified. “My posts did not cause the movement of billions of dollars into GameStop shares.”

He also testified that he was not a part of a coordinated effort to buy GameStop stock and he did not sell stocks as part of his job at MassMutual.

Gill, in a post on Reddit, at one point said the value of his GameStop holdings had grown as high as $48 million, the Globe has reported.

The order filed by the secretary of state’s office highlighted some of the wild fluctuations in the prices of GameStop’s stock, noting that on Jan. 20 its closing price was $39.12.

“The next two weeks the stock experienced unprecedented swings, reaching a high price of $483 on Jan. 29, and closing on Feb. 4 at $53.50,” the order says.

The secretary of state’s office characterized that period as a “meme stock run-up,” which it defined as “an increase in trading volume not because of the company’s performance but rather because of promotion on social media platforms and online forums such as Reddit.”

Known on YouTube as “Roaring Kitty” and on Reddit’s Wallstreetbets forum as “Deep [expletive] Value,” Gill amassed a large following of investors interested in pursuing his trading strategy, the Globe has reported.


Under the order, MassMutual also agreed to an independent compliance review of its social media policies and trading by its broker-dealer agents, the office of Secretary of State said in a press release.

Got a problem? Send your consumer issue to sean.murphy@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @spmurphyboston.