An in and out trading strategy refers to short-term trading in an investor’s account. In other words, buying in and selling out of securities in a short period of time with no real basis for the stockbroker’s recommendation in either the suitability of the securities or the trading strategy.
In and out is a trading strategy that is commonly associated with day trading. While the strategy may be suitable for some investors or desired by other investors, it is a highly speculative trading strategy for most retail investors. A staple of the strategy is that it generates fees and commissions for the stockbroker and the broker-dealer while costing the investor money. Generally, the investor will be hit with high per-trade transaction costs and even principal losses if the stockbroker is selling investments at a loss in order to engage in the strategy. In and out trading is not appropriate for most investors, and stockbrokers should, at a minimum, have a reasonable basis to recommend this strategy to a particular investor.
Under FINRA rules, a stockbroker is required to perform reasonable due diligence to understand two key areas: 1) the stockbroker’s in and out trading strategy recommendation and 2) the impact the stockbroker’s recommendation has on the account’s ability to turn a profit. To do so, it must assess the cumulative impact that commissions and fees associated with an in and out trading strategy will have on an investor’s ability to earn a profit. Failure to observe these considerations about the quantitative suitability of the trades may lead to investor claims against a stockbroker for unsuitable and excessive trading. Investors may also have a failure to supervise claim against the broker-dealer firm if the trading activity in an account warranted further review by a supervisor, if the trading exceeded turnover and cost-to-equity ratios, and if the broker-dealer failed to take action or ignored its own system’s alerts.