Date of Award

Spring 2024

Degree Type



Moore School of Business

Director of Thesis

Ozgur Ince

Second Reader

Hugh Kim


This thesis explores the rise of retail investors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they have changed the landscape of financial markets. We outline the full timeline of the GME and AMC social media craze that exemplified the power of retail investors in the market and investigate the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on this group. Through the use of VandaTrack, a software that tracks retail investors’ trading activity, we were able to quantify the impact that retail investors have on US equities and ETFs and compare them to the market as a whole. We utilized this data to visualize retail trading flows and how they interact and influence the price of a stock or ETF over time. In addition, this data allowed for a better analysis of how retail investors react to certain events in the equity market including IPOs and stock splits. This thesis asserts that institutional investors must continue to adapt to the new age of retail investors and consider the power and influence that they hold. Additionally, this thesis asserts that the presence of the retail investor is better for the stock market because these retail investing flows provide increased liquidity and reduce the tail risk of stocks.

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© 2024, Nick Murray and Spencer Brosnan