Online stock trading platform Robinhood last week announced the appointment of two chief compliance officers as it reportedly faces scrutiny from the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding its March system outages.
Norm Ashkenas will join the FinTech startup this month as CCO for Robinhood Financial, and Kelly Zigaitis will also start in September as CCO for Robinhood Securities. Ashkenas joins Robinhood from Fidelity, where he was head of compliance for Fidelity Institutional & Fidelity Brokerage Technology, while Zigaitis most recently worked as head of oversight and controls at Wells Fargo Advisors.
Ashkenas had been with Fidelity in various compliance roles since 2003. Zigaitis was at Wells Fargo for a year and previously served as chief compliance officer at Scottrade prior to its acquisition by TD Ameritrade.
“With extensive, exemplary backgrounds in brokerage industry compliance, Norm and Kelly will lead our compliance teams as we scale our processes, policies, and practices,” Robinhood stated in a press release. “Regulatory compliance is a critical element of investor protection and Robinhood is committed to ensuring that our compliance program is industry leading.”
The appointments were announced several days prior to Bloomberg News reporting the company was being investigated by the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) regarding the March outages. The probe is focused on Robinhood’s slow response to the disruption, among other areas, according to the report.
“Multiple factors contributed to the unprecedented load that ultimately led to the outages,” Robinhood’s founders, Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt, said in a press release at the time. “The factors included, among others, highly volatile and historic market conditions; record volume; and record account sign-ups.
“We take our responsibility to you and your money seriously. We recognize that many of you have questions, and we’re working to respond to them as quickly as possible.”
No doubt related to the outages—which are not just isolated to March, as Robinhood acknowledged another issue on its platform Monday—the company was on the receiving end of more than 400 complaints lodged with consumer protection agencies during the first half of 2020, according to Bloomberg.
Robinhood also recently enhanced its legal team, announcing the addition of Christina Lai and Lucas Moskowitz each in the role of VP and deputy general counsel earlier in August.