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House Hearing Provides a Message to Robinhood Traders: Retail Investors Lose Consistently When They Actively Trade their Own Account

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Dennis Kelleher, Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Better Markets

Dennis Kelleher, Co-Founder, President and CEO of Better Markets

There were plenty of fireworks during yesterday’s House Financial Services Committee hearing on the ongoing GameStop trading fiasco and two of the major players involved: retail broker-dealer, Robinhood, which offers free trading accounts to novice investors and provides behavioral messaging like a digital display of confetti when they complete a trade; and Citadel Securities, a giant market-maker that pays Robinhood to route the bulk of its orders to it for execution.

Congressman Jim Himes

Congressman Jim Himes

The most interesting moment of the day arrived several hours into the hearing in the following exchange between Congressman Jim Himes (D-CT) and a hearing witness, Dennis Kelleher, Co-Founder, President and CEO of Better Markets, a Wall Street watchdog that has been working in the public interest for the past decade. Kelleher holds a law degree from Harvard Law School.

Himes said he wanted to figure out if “what we’re talking about here is saving and investing or whether it is gambling.”

Himes: “I’ve reviewed the literature here. There is no ambiguity. I’ve looked at the academic studies…It’s very, very clear what happens when retail investors trade a lot. Mr. Kelleher, in terms that the folks watching at home can understand, what happens when retail investors trade a lot?”

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