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Robinhood’s CEO is not Licensed?

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.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/04/investing/robinhood-ceo-vlad-tenev-finra