Robinhood’s SEC and FINRA hiring spree

Over the past 18 months as it prepared for its upcoming IPO tentatively set for next week, Robinhood has hired at least a dozen people from either the SEC or FINRA — two regulatory authorities that have each fined the company to the tune of $135 million since the end of last year.

While both FINRA and the SEC have well-documented revolving door policies that prevent an employee from acting on behalf of their new employer for a year or more, it’s hard to square that with the millions Robinhood has spent to hire these folks, most notably former SEC Commissioner Dan Gallagher, whose employment agreement was attached to the S-1 filed on July 1. That employment agreement spelled out a $4.2 million signing bonus and loads of RSUs and options that the company valued at more than $25 million, but in reality are probably worth a lot more than that depending on what the shares price for once the company does go public.

I wrote about this in my latest piece for Bloomberg Opinion, which you can read here.