By Julia Chatterley, CNN
Online trading level Robinhood was acceptable to marque its highly anticipated Wall Street debut connected Thursday, adjacent arsenic the eight-year-old institution faces aggravated regulatory scrutiny and public-relations headaches.
Even six months aft GameStop trading frenzy, Robinhood is inactive dealing with blowback from its relation successful the saga, successful which the app suspended trading connected fashionable meme stocks, triggering an outcry from traders. CEO Vlad Tenev was hauled earlier Congress to support that decision, putting himself and the institution successful the nationalist spotlight.
Tenev spoke with CNN’s Julia Chatterley conscionable earlier the opening doorbell connected this pivotal time successful the firm’s little but eventful history.
Why is close present the close clip to spell public?
Tenev: I deliberation Robinhood has seen an unthinkable magnitude of maturation and engagement from our customers and we’re acceptable to beryllium a nationalist company. … We’ve been bringing connected committee astonishing absorption and leaders from crossed technology, fiscal services and each sorts of antithetic backgrounds. So we’re arrogant to observe this milestone. And for us, it’s truly conscionable the beginning.
Is Robinhood mature capable to beryllium a nationalist company?
Tenev: Yes, we judge so, and implicit the past year, you tin spot however overmuch the institution has grown not conscionable successful in leadership, but besides successful things similar lawsuit support, launching telephone enactment and each sorts of antithetic channels, improving the mode we service our customers, improving our infrastructure and technology, truly gathering the instauration for our aboriginal maturation and the products that we’ll beryllium launching successful the future.
A batch of radical are looking astatine this and saying you’re being a small spot conservative, perhaps, connected the pricing. Tell maine what you’re reasoning present arsenic we spell to market?
Tenev: Well, archetypal of all, I deliberation the pricing is simply a infinitesimal successful time, and we person I deliberation it’s close to accidental it’s blimpish and we’re blessed that retail customers, which marque up specified a large portion of our allocation and truly are the the cornerstone down our concern and merchandise are capable to get successful astatine this price.
You’re keeping the lion’s stock of control, you person 10 times the voting stock versus the shares that you’re giving to these people. What’s the connection that you’re sending there?
Tenev: Well, the reasoning down that is we’re a long-term-focused institution and a batch of the bets that we’re making are our semipermanent bets. And we judge that the voting operation positions america good to beryllium continuing that absorption connected the agelong word and support innovating and debar short-term distractions that tin beryllium truthful tempting successful the nationalist markets.
And what are you expecting successful presumption of show today? Are you hoping for a popular given, arsenic you’ve said, it is simply a blimpish pricing that you’re going successful with?
Tenev: I deliberation that you’ll find that Robinhood arsenic a nationalist institution isn’t going to remark excessively overmuch connected day-to-day terms fluctuations. I deliberation we’re going to beryllium relentlessly focused connected the agelong term, arsenic we person been successful the past and arsenic I deliberation it was Benjamin Graham erstwhile said, implicit the agelong run, the markets are a weighing machine. So we’d similar to we’d similar to beryllium a dense institution implicit the agelong term, truthful to speak.
You’ve been asked questions successful caller days astir your ain registration by the FINRA regulators. When you look backmost implicit that brainsick meme banal trading time, bash you deliberation you could person overstepped the enactment successful presumption of the decisions you were making, the conversations you were having?
Tenev: Well, to beryllium clear, I’m the CEO of Robinhood Markets, which is simply a holding company, and we person a fig of regulated businesses that are astatine the entity level nether the holding company. So Robinhood Financial is an introducing broker-dealer, Robinhood Securities clearing broker-dealer. Of course, we person Robinhood Crypto and each each of these businesses person their ain enactment licence wherever required. And and we deliberation that operation is tenable fixed our business.
Are you tempted to bash the exam, conscionable bash the exam and unopen everybody up?
Tenev: Yeah, we don’t deliberation that’s required astatine this point.
You’ll bash it erstwhile Jack Dorsey does it? Is that the message?
One of the different questions being asked, I think, is meme banal trading by your ain employees. Can you archer america thing astir that and whether determination are restrictions successful spot oregon adjacent whether the restrictions present possibly successful presumption of what your employees tin do?
Tenev: Yeah, I astir apt shouldn’t beryllium commenting connected on immoderate of these things different than to accidental that, of course, we’re going to cooperate with with immoderate investigations.
There are questions, though, astir the aboriginal of what Robinhood looks like, however you germinate arsenic a company, and I deliberation astatine the bosom of this is the mode the concern exemplary works and its reliance connected outgo for bid flow. What happens if the regulators crook astir and say, look, sorry, Robinhood, you can’t usage that anymore? How does the concern exemplary enactment successful that case? Do you person contingency plans?
Tenev: Well, the archetypal happening I’d accidental is that I deliberation the concern exemplary that we’ve introduced and which has truly go the the modular concern exemplary for our manufacture is moving for mundane Americans. Just look astatine the magnitude of of caller customers, caller investors that didn’t person entree earlier that present person entree to to the markets. So I deliberation the concern exemplary that we’ve introduced by eliminating commissions industry-wide has had profound effects. And I deliberation we could archer the communicative a small spot more. And you should spot america continuing to bash that.
And I hold with you, and I bash deliberation you person had a profound effect, but what happens if the quality to utilize outgo for bid travel goes away? Because that comes to the halfway of what you’ve been capable to supply successful presumption of zero-commission access.
Tenev: Well, what I would accidental is you look astatine outgo for bid travel connected the equity broadside and we’re generating astir two-and-a-half cents per 100 dollars successful traded volume. So it’s actually, you know, rather a humble gross stream. And Robinhood’s continuing to diversify adjacent wrong the transaction-based gross segment. You tin spot that different assets similar crypto person been making up a larger stock arsenic clip goes on. And we person different lines arsenic good arsenic we spot currency absorption successful our spending and redeeming products proceed to mature arsenic we spot Robinhood Gold get much and much investment. I deliberation you’ll spot america proceed to diversify our revenue. So we’re going to beryllium little babelike implicit clip connected immoderate of our idiosyncratic segments.
How bash you program to clasp your existent customers and however are you going to get them funny successful things similar status accounts and investing for the future, arsenic opposed to trading connected a time oregon a shorter word basis?
Tenev: We’ve been very, precise pleased with the engagement and the retention that we’ve been seeing among our lawsuit base, and I deliberation it’s truly 2 things going forward. One is improving the the work level and making definite that customers get the close benignant of lawsuit enactment successful a timely mode erstwhile they request it. And that’s that’s precise important. Along with infrastructure, scalability and being disposable connected a exertion level, having the champion imaginable lawsuit enactment is is our biggest focus. And past the different happening is continuing to turn with customers successful presumption of offering them products that that they could payment from. And that’s wherever further relationship types and further tools for investors, particularly ones that promote archetypal clip investors to turn into agelong clip investors, is is simply a large portion of the brokerage roadmap and not to notation our investments successful our crypto concern and successful the payments country wherever we deliberation there’s going to beryllium a batch of maturation and further lawsuit engagement implicit time. The extremity is to beryllium the astir trusted and astir culturally applicable wealth app worldwide. So you spot america expanding beyond investing arsenic good arsenic beyond conscionable the US.
Right present spot is paramount. What bash you deliberation is the defining happening that you tin bash betwixt present and the future? Let’s springiness it 2 years, 3 years successful bid to guarantee that you person maximum spot comparative to your peers?
Tenev: Our apical worth is information first, due to the fact that particularly erstwhile you’re dealing with your money, the mode customers presumption it is I privation to beryllium harmless utilizing the platform. And truthful that’s wherever our investments successful infrastructure, reliability and scalability person travel in. And we haven’t ever been cleanable here. I mean, look backmost to March of 2020 wherever we had immoderate work and stableness issues. And arsenic an engineer, that was that was disappointing to maine personally. But we’ve responded to that… I deliberation arsenic a nationalist company, you guys and the broader nationalist and our customers are conscionable going to person to spot america deliver. And that’s yet however how spot is earned and grown implicit time. We’re going to support telling you what our absorption is and what we’re going to bash and what we’re going to deliver. And past you person to ticker america present it.
How breathtaking is this day? How does this infinitesimal feel? Can you enactment it into words for me, please?
Tenev: I deliberation it’s it’s humbling. I came to this country, I was an migrant from Bulgaria, and I archetypal came into JFK Airport erstwhile I was 5 years aged successful the aboriginal ’90s, and began my entrepreneurial travel successful New York City arsenic well. So present to beryllium backmost present aft six years since Robinhood’s launch, it’s truly surreal.
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