Robinhood CEO: We're helping those left behind by Wall Street, not hedge funds

·3 min read

We built Robinhood for our customers. For millions of people who have felt left behind by America’s financial system. For people who felt turned away by the big Wall Street financial institutions. For those who are making their voices heard through the markets and showing the world that investing is for everyone.

Last week, we witnessed something the stock market has never quite experienced before. Short squeezes on a small number of stocks triggered wild gyrations in prices, massive volatility that prompted clearinghouses to take swift action to protect the plumbing that handles stock trading every day.

Dramatic week for Wall Street and Main Street

In a matter of days, our clearinghouse-mandated deposit requirements related to stocks increased ten-fold. These deposits are the collateral we post to ensure our access to clearinghouse services on behalf of our customers. They are what led us to put temporary buying restrictions in place on a small number of securities that the clearinghouses had raised their deposit requirements on. As we noted in a blog on Friday, it was not because we wanted to stop people from buying these or any stocks — we built Robinhood to provide access to investing for all. And it certainly wasn’t because we were trying to help hedge funds.

Robinhood trading app on a mobile phone on Jan. 28, 2021, in Arlington, Virginia.
Robinhood trading app on a mobile phone on Jan. 28, 2021, in Arlington, Virginia.

It was a week that Wall Street and Main Street won’t soon forget. It is possible the unusual and dramatic market swings could occur again. And so it is important for me to share with you what Robinhood believes and stands for.

Robinhood has always sought to put our customers first. Standing by our Robinhood community means being a responsible partner and being there for our customers through any trading environment — and communicating about the rules our industry faces and how we are living up to them so we can be here for customers for decades to come. That’s a high standard, one we seek to meet and exceed every day.

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We stand with everyday investors participating in markets and showing the world that investing is for everyone. And we take our responsibility to all of them seriously.

Massive transformation in financial markets

What we are witnessing is a massive transformation taking place across financial markets, driven by the intersection of technology, democracy and finance, and one that is ushering in an entirely new era of financial participation and market dynamics.

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We are committed to seizing this moment as an opportunity to continue to improve ourselves, while we expand access to the entire financial industry for everyone. We will stand right beside everyday people in our mission to break down barriers to open the financial system. With a new generation of investors at the helm, the future looks a little brighter. I’m proud of what we have and will accomplish — together.

Vlad Tenev is the CEO of Robinhood.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: GameStop drama: Robinhood had to play by the rules to put customers first