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SEC Slows Robinhood IPO With Detailed Review Of Crypto-Trading Business

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

It looks like the SEC is creating some problems for Robinhood as the company seeks to side-step the fallout from January's meme-stock trading frenzy (and its decision to shut down trading in GME, AMC and other meme stocks, supposedly to meet requirements stipulated by its clearing house) on its way to a multibillion-dollar IPO.

Robinhood, which had hoped to go public this month, has seen its plans for a listing stymied by nosey regulators asking detailed questions about the company's prospectus, specifically its plans regarding the expansion of its cryptocurrency-trading business.

Over the past month, reports of an intensifying crackdown in China and fears about further ransomware attacks and other use-cases for organized criminal activity have prompted American regulators to reconsider their relatively liberal stance toward crypto.

Already, the deluge of SPAC deals has created a backlog at the SEC which is taking longer to review prospective deals. Agency staff have warned corporate lawyers that it may take up to 30 days to review paperwork for SPACs, with an additional two weeks tacked on for any changes or amendments.

For traditional IPOs, the wait could be even longer.

A listing for Robinhood could still arrive this summer, Bloomberg said. The timeline has already slipped to July.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been asking Robinhood about its growing cryptocurrency business, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

While a listing might come this summer, the popular trading app’s plans could also slip into the fall, one of the people said. The company aims to reveal its financials as soon as possible and to go public as soon as the SEC finishes its review, they said.

Robinhood first rolled out cryptocurrency trading in 2018, but the service has been plagued by objections from regulators and occasional crashes (not unlike its equity and equity derivatives trading). Crypto prices have been on a wild ride so far this year, with bitcoin recently rebounding above $35K after tumbling below $30K for the first time in…two weeks.

The firm first filed its S-1 in March, with a target of going public in June, which isn't going to happen, the company says.

As the SEC breaks Robinhood's stones while allowing dozens of shady SPAC deals pass with nary a peep, one can't help but wonder whether this headline is a weak attempt at CYA for the regulator, which has become notoriously behold to the corporate interests it's supposed to police (just look at the astounding leniency granted to Elon Musk).

A few days ago, we reported that the retail trading boom that revolutionized markets last year shows no signs of slowing.

At this point, it seems unlikely that some lowly regulator will come forward and try to stop Vlad Tenev from cementing his multibillionaire status.

In other news, Robinhood said Thursday that it wants the SEC to allow sub-penny pricing on exchanges. The new rule would help create tighter spreads (marginally, to be sure) for Robinhood's clients (and the clients of other firms), the company argued, while also helping close a gap between the exchanges and private market-makers. The firm also just rolled out its IPO Access program in the US, which it claims will allow retail traders to get in on new offerings at the listing price.


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