Robinhood Markets Inc. is under investigation by the United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over its dealings with high-frequency trading firms (HFTs), according to The Wall Street Journal.
According to people familiar with the matter, the SEC’s investigation into the commission-free stock trading app is at an advanced stage and focuses on the fintech’s failure to completely disclose its practice of selling client orders to HFTs.
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Robinhood could be looking at paying a fine upwards of $10 million if it settles with the US regulator, one of the sources told the news outlet. However, a deal isn’t likely to be reached this month as a proposed fine hasn’t been formally negotiated, the source said.
So far, Robinhood has declined to respond to media requests for comment, but a spokeswoman did tell The Wall Street Journal: “We strive to maintain constructive relationships with our regulators and to cooperate fully with them.” The SEC has also rejected media requests for comment.
The hits keep coming for Robinhood
The supposed investigation from the SEC comes as the commission-free trading app has suffered a number of blows in recent months. Namely, the fintech’s platform has struggled to keep up with demand, and as such, has experienced system-wide outages on numerous occasions – one back in March amid peak COVID-19 volatility, and one more recently in June.
Following on from this, Robinhood decided to delay its launch in the United Kingdom. As Finance Magnates reported, the company decided to do so in order to focus on strengthening its infrastructure and looking to bond with clients after recent outages. Now, the launch is likely to happen at the end of this year.
However, it definitely hasn’t been all doom and gloom for the company. In August, the fintech closed a $200 million Series G funding round led by D1 Capital Partners, putting its valuation at $11.2 billion.
In June, Robinhood beat its rivals by recording 4.3 million daily average revenue trades (DARTs) for the month, the strongest value compared to its competitors. This was the first time the company has shared its monthly totals.
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