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Plunge Protection Team (PPT): Definition and How It Works


The Plunge Protection Team (PPT) is a colloquial name given to the Working Group on Financial Markets, a U.S governmental body established in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan. This entity is tasked with enhancing the integrity, efficiency, orderliness, and competitiveness of U.S financial markets, and maintaining investor confidence. In popular discourse, the PPT is sometimes portrayed as intervening during significant market downturns, hence the nickname “Plunge Protection Team.”


/plʌndʒ prəˈtɛkʃən ti:m/ (P P T): /ˌdɛfɪˈnɪʃən ænd haʊ ɪt wɜrks/

Key Takeaways

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  1. Purpose and Function: The Plunge Protection Team (PPT), officially known as the Working Group on Financial Markets, has the primary role of providing financial and economic stability in the U.S. They do this by countering excessive volatility in markets and avoiding potentially serious market crashes.
  2. Members: This group is composed of high-ranking financial officials including the Secretary of the Treasury, the chairs of the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Their collective expertise and authority provide the PPT with the capacity to influence markets effectively.
  3. Tool Usage and Response: The PPT uses numerous financial instruments, such as the buying of index futures, to influence the markets. They also have the power to give reassurances to markets during periods of excessive volatility. The Plunge Protection Team can be seen in action during times of significant market instability, making strategic interventions to stabilize the economy.


The term “Plunge Protection Team” (PPT) is crucial in the business/finance industry because it refers to a group of financial institutions in the U.S — the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the U.S. Treasury Department, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission — that supposedly intervenes during severe market downturns to stabilize the financial system. The term suggests they buy substantial amounts of stocks and securities to prevent a “plunge” in prices, injecting liquidity into financial markets. While they don’t necessarily exist as a standalone entity, its relevance highlights these institutions’ pivotal role in mitigating risks, ensuring market integrity, and maintaining economic stability during financial crises. They work collaboratively to avoid market crashes that could potentially lead to a financial crisis – their actions are crucial for the healthy functioning of the U.S. economy.


The Plunge Protection Team (PPT), officially known as the Working Group on Financial Markets, was established by the U.S. government following the market crash in 1987, with the intention to facilitate financial and economic stability. Its core purpose is to provide recommendations for legislative and private sector solutions for enhancing the integrity, efficiency, orderliness, and competitiveness of the nation’s financial markets and maintaining investor confidence. It achieves this by using available financial and fiscal policy tools to mitigate excessive market volatility and prevent severe market crashes that can potentially wreak havoc on the economy.The PPT primarily operates by stepping in during significant market downturns and either directly purchasing substantial amounts of sagging stocks or pushing for interest rate cuts. By doing so, they increase liquidity in the markets, thus supporting asset prices, boosting investor sentiment, and re-instilling confidence in the market. Although its actions can seem like market manipulation, it is important to understand that without such mechanisms and interventions, uncontrollable market volatility could lead to devastating financial and economic outcomes both for businesses and the general public.


The Plunge Protection Team (PPT), officially known as the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, was established by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 after the 1987 stock market crash. It is a group that includes the Secretary of the Treasury and the chairs of the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The PPT is intended to provide financial and economic advice to the U.S. President during times of economic turbulence.1. 1987 Stock Market Crash (Black Monday): This is when the PPT was first introduced. On October 19, 1987, stock markets around the world crashed, causing a global financial crisis. After the crash, President Ronald Reagan established the PPT to prevent such massive financial losses in the future.2. Global Financial Crisis in 2008: During this period, many believe the PPT played a significant role in stabilizing the financial markets. As the housing bubble burst and the credit market seized up, the PPT was instrumental in advising the government on measures to stabilize the economy, such as bailouts for major banks and insurance companies. 3. COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020: The financial markets experienced extreme volatility due to the uncertain effects of the global pandemic. In response, the Federal Reserve—part of the PPT—implemented several strategies to calm the market, including slashing interest rates and buying billions of dollars in government securities. Many attribute the rapid recovery and the subsequent bull market in U.S. stocks to these aggressive intervention measures.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the Plunge Protection Team (PPT)?

The Plunge Protection Team (PPT), officially known as The Working Group on Financial Markets, is a committee established by the U.S. government in 1988 to provide financial and economic stability during times of severe market distress.

Who are the members of the Plunge Protection Team (PPT)?

The Plunge Protection Team (PPT) consists of the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, the Chairperson of the SEC, and the Chairperson of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

How does the Plunge Protection Team (PPT) work?

When the stock market takes a huge plunge or shows signs of significant distress, the PPT comes into action. They use their influence and resources to intervene in financial markets, either through mass buying to spur growth and confidence or policy changes and recommendations to ensure market stability.

What is the purpose of the Plunge Protection Team (PPT)?

The main purpose of the PPT is to prevent financial markets from collapsing. They aim to enhance the integrity, efficiency, competitiveness, and stability of the nation’s financial markets.

When was the Plunge Protection Team (PPT) initiated?

The Plunge Protection Team (PPT) was established by the U.S. President’s Executive Order 12631, signed on March 18, 1988.

Does the Plunge Protection Team (PPT) intervene in markets frequently?

The PPT doesn’t act frequently, but more on extreme situations when there are risks of significant financial instability. It is mainly a reactionary group, stepping in when required to protect the financial market from extreme downturns.

Is there any controversy surrounding the Plunge Protection Team (PPT)?

Yes, some critics argue that the PPT interferes with the natural market forces and potentially creating moral hazard. There is also controversy surrounding its level of transparency regarding its actions and interventions.

Does every country have its own Plunge Protection Team (PPT)?

No, the concept of a Plunge Protection Team is specific to the United States. However, many other countries have similar mechanisms or financial bodies to ensure stability in their respective financial markets.

Related Finance Terms

  • Recapitalization: The process by which a company restructures its debt and equity mixture, often to stabilize a company’s capital structure.
  • Market Liquidity: The extent to which a market allows assets to be bought and sold at stable prices, something the PPT aims to maintain during periods of financial panic.
  • Federal Reserve: The central bank of the United States, which has a role in implementing policies that keep the economy stable, similar to the function of the PPT.
  • Crisis management: The process by which a business or other organization deals with a sudden emergency situation, much like the PPT’s role in managing sudden and severe economic crises.
  • Portfolio diversification: Spreading investments across a wide variety of sectors and financial products to reduce risk, a concept relevant to the broader aims of the PPT.

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