The Robinhood stock trading app is set to hit the markets on Thursday trading under ticker HOOD. However, a new investigation could create more doubts for investors.
Robinhood Stock: Last-Minute Surprise
Yesterday, Robinhood announced that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the self-regulator for brokerage firms and exchange markets, had launched a probe into its chief executive, Vlad Tenev.
According to the probe, the agency wants to know why Tenev isn’t registered with FINRA, despite running one of the largest brokerage firms in the United States.
Baiju Bhatt, the company’s co-CEO, is also not registered with the regulator. Beyond the registration controversy, regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are also reportedly still seeking information about the January GameStop saga.
Recall that Robinhood abruptly stopped trading for stocks like GameStop and AMC when Reddit investors banded together and bought them. Regulators are now looking into records of employee trades shortly before Robinhood halted trading. Robinhood’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) has been the talk of the FinTech space since it was first announced.
The app is especially famous among retail traders, and it saw a surge in numbers in 2020 following the pandemic.
However, the road to the public offering has been less than smooth. With the IPO set for Thursday, Robinhood had essentially been keeping a low profile and staying out of trouble for the past few months. The company’s role in the GameStop saga was a rocky period in January, but it managed to weather the storm and move on. However, one final shoe was set to drop just a day before the public debut.
Investigations Dampen Robinhood IPO
With the new investigation, Robinhood’s IPO was expected to flop. And, it did. Reports confirmed earlier today that the company debuted on the NASDAQ at $38 a share – the lower spectrum of analysts’ expectations, which ranged between $38 and $42.
With Robinhood selling 54.2 million shares, raising $2.1 billion at a valuation of $32 billion – lower than the $35 billion it expected. Tenev and Bhatt have now sold $50 million worth of stock each.
eToro: A Worthy Alternative
With Robinhood raising less than it expected in its IPO, the company is currently treading uncertain waters. It also doesn’t bode well that it is being investigated by FINRA – the agency that levied its largest-ever penalty of $70 million on Robinhood just a month ago.
eToro has a history that extends much longer than Robinhood, and the company is also much more stable. The service is also famous for its Copy Trading feature, which allows users to copy the moves of successful traders and make money when they do. eToro also has a superior business model.
In March, eToro completed a merger with FinTech Acquisition Corp. V – a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in a massive $10.4 billion deal. The deal is set to close sometime in Q3, and the combined company will trade as eToro Group Ltd. Like Robinhood, it is also expected to be listed on the Nasdaq exchange.
Investors looking for a stronger alternative to Robinhood should consider the social trading platform eToro.