He’s the investor who drew the world’s attention to a struggling brick-and-mortar video retailer called GameStop, which was then the centre of a stock market frenzy, but amid the storm he insists he’s just a dad with an online hobby.
Keith Gill, 34, told the Wall Street Journal, he never expected to see people from different walks of life, like Congress, hedgefunds, the media, trading apps and investors, pile in and comment, criticise and closely watch the situation.
Having previously been in marketing for a Massachusetts insurance firm, he is now credited with the skyrocketing price of GameStop stock, which has gone up 1700 per cent since the start of the year.
Its shares have risen from around $US17 ($A22) at the beginning of 2021, crashing through to highs of $US468 ($A613) before plummeting and currently sitting at $US225 ($A295).
It comes after novice investors, driven by Reddit users, have been causing shockwaves on the stock market by snapping up stock that hedge fund members usually bet against to make a huge profit.
Online investors attribute the mania to a Reddit subgroup named WallStreetBets where Mr Gill is known as “DeepF–ingValue” – with its users, many just amateur investors, turning the market and investment world upside down.
Mr Gill’s own stock has fluctuated from a $US20 million ($A26 million) gain to a $US15 million ($A20 million) loss, but on Thursday he held around $US33 million ($A43 million) worth of GameStop stock, options and millions in cash. He was been investing in GameStop since June 2019 when shares were around $US5 ($A6.50).
“This story is so much bigger than me,” Mr. Gill told The Wall Street Journal. “I support these retail investors, their ability to make a statement.”
But the father-of-one insists he never set out to be a troublemaker or to take on the establishment, but simply believes investors can find value in unloved stock.
The millions in his trading account is unexpected, along with the huge amount of fans curious about his identity.
“People were doing a quick take, saying GameStop was the next Blockbuster,” he said, after the chain struggled with closures, a decline in physical sales and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It appeared many folks just weren’t digging in deeper. It was a gross misclassification of the opportunity.”
On his YouTube account called Roaring Kitty, which hast attracted more than 200,000 views on some posts, Mr Gill gives his view on which stocks to buy while fielding questions and drinking prosecco and beer.
With GameStop’s potential to attract new customers by selling video game consoles, the company was a hidden stock winner for him.
His mum, Elaine Gill, revealed he had “always liked money” and would often score cash from discarded scratch tickets.
A rare move from the US Securities and Exchange Commission where it announced it would monitor volatility in the stock market drew even more attention to the situation, but Mr Gill said he hasn’t been contacted by it. He has also assured his mum that nothing illegal or dishonest has gone down.
But while many within WallStreetBets group touted its aim was to bring down the “fat cats” of Wall Street, Mr Gill insists he is not out to get anyone.
“Roaring Kitty was an educational channel where I was showcasing my investment philosophy,” he said.