CNN is reporting that the CEO of Robinhood is not licensed with FINRA and implies that he is required to be licensed and that it is a “big deal” that he is not licensed.
CNN is correct that absent an exemption, FINRA requires senior executives of a broker-dealer, including the CEO, to hold, as a minimum, a Series 7 and Series 24 license. Ever since Jon Corzine’s firm was involved in the disappearance of millions of dollars after he was granted an exemption, FINRA doesn’t grant many exemptions.
So I checked, and while it is true that Vlad Tenev, who has been identified in numerous interviews as the CEO of Robinhood, is not licensed, he is not the CEO of the broker-dealer. It appears that he is the CEO of the CEO of Robinhood Markets, the parent company of Robinhood Securities and Robinhood Financial. Robinhood Markets is not a brokerage firm and is not required to be registered with FINRA.
Digging deeper, the presidents of both Robinhood Securities and Robinhood Financial are both registered with FINRA.
So long as Mr. Tenev is not involved in the operations of the broker-dealers, there is no requirement that he be registered with FINRA.
Mark Astarita is a nationally recognized securities attorney, who represents investors, financial professionals and firms in securities litigation, arbitration and regulatory matters, including SEC and FINRA investigations and enforcement proceedings.
He is a partner in the national securities law firm Sallah Astarita & Cox, LLC, and the founder of The Securities Law Home Page - SECLaw.com, which was one of the first legal topic sites on the Internet. It went online in 1995 and is updated daily with news, commentary and securities law related links.