Twitter thread on Robinhood halting GME trading



Robinhood (RH) is a broker. They don’t execute stock orders themselves. They sign up customers, route their orders to executing brokers, and keep track of who owns what. RH is also its own clearing broker, so they directly settle and custody their clients’ securities. 

Yes, RH is paid by Citadel to handle executing some of its order flow. This isn’t as nefarious as it sounds – Citadel Equity Securities is paying to execute retail orders because they aren’t pernicious (like having 500x the size behind them). 


RH offered to open up stock market investing more broadly. They succeeded, clearly. But the regulations didn’t change – there are still pro-Wall St, pro-incumbent rules and capital requirements. It’s one of the most highly regulated industries in our nation. 

So @AOC is right to ask how it can be that Robinhood stopped its clients from buying certain securities. And what she’ll find is that the reason is that Dodd-Frank requires brokers like RH to post collateral to cover their clients’ trading risk pre-settlement. 

Author(s): Silent Cal

Publication Date: 28 January 2021

Publication Site: Twitter

Suck It, Wall Street



The only thing “dangerous” about a gang of Reddit investors blowing up hedge funds is that some of us reading about it might die of laughter. That bit about investigating this as a “pump and dump scheme” to push prices away from their “fundamental value” is particularly hilarious. What does the Washington Post think the entire stock market is, in the bailout age?

America’s banks just had maybe their best year ever, raking in $125 billion in underwriting fees at a time when the rest of the country is dealing with record unemployment, thanks entirely to massive Federal Reserve intervention that turned a crash into a boom. Who thinks the “fundamental value” of most stocks would be this high, absent the Fed’s Atlas-like support in the last year?

For context, Goldman, Sachs posted revenues of $44.56 billion in 2020, its best year since 2009, a.k.a. the last year Wall Street cashed in on a bailout. Back then, the shortcut back to giganto-bonuses was underwriting fees for financial companies raising money to purge themselves of TARP debt. This time it’s underwriting fees for bond issues and IPOs. The subtext of both bailouts was that anyone who owned or underwrote financial assets got richer, while everyone else got the proverbial high hat. It’s no accident that income inequality dramatically accelerated after the last bailouts, and that the only people to see net gains in wealth since 2008 have been the richest 20% of Americans, a pattern almost certain to continue.

Author: Matt Taibbi

Publication Date: 28 January 2021

Publication Site: TK News

GameStop Mania Drives Scrutiny of Payments to Online Brokers



The Reddit-fueled frenzy in stocks such as GameStop Corp. and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. is prompting calls for regulators to reconsider a decades-old practice in the U.S. stock market: payment for order flow.

The practice, in which high-speed trading firms pay brokerages for the right to execute orders submitted by individual investors, has long been controversial. Some have said it warps the incentives of brokers and encourages them to maximize their revenue at the expense of customers. Supporters, including many brokers and trading firms, said it helps ensure investors get seamless executions and good prices on trades.

Last year, brokerages such as Charles Schwab Corp., TD Ameritrade, Robinhood Markets Inc. and E*Trade collected nearly $2.6 billion in payments for stock and option orders, according to JMP Securities. The biggest sources of the payments were electronic-trading firms such as Citadel Securities, Susquehanna International Group LLP and Virtu Financial Inc.

Payment for order flow helped set the stage for the manic trading in GameStop, whose shares began the year around $18, surged to a record close of $347.51 on Jan. 27 and ended Thursday’s session at $53.50. Other once-hot stocks such as AMC and Koss Corp. fell more than 20% on Thursday as the Reddit rally lost steam.

Author(s): Alexander Osipovich

Publication Date: 4 February 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

Inside the Reddit army that’s crushing Wall Street



This past week has been a banner one for Reddit’s island of misfit investors.

WallStreetBets exploded into the mainstream, moving from the front page of Reddit to the front page of the New York Times and nearly every other major news site. The subreddit’s short-squeeze of GameStop helped shoot up the price of the video game retailer’s stock a mind-boggling 1,700% from the beginning of January to Wednesday (before it fell again Thursday), captivating the minds and wallets of investors — both casual and institutional — and financial regulators.

But while millions are now discovering WallStreetBets for the first time, it has been building momentum throughout the pandemic. One can trace its epic rise to a perfect storm of favorable conditions: the exponential growth of the app Robinhood and its no-fee options trading, the extreme volatility Covid-19 brought to the markets, the stimulus checks mailed to millions of Americans, the lack of televised sports for much of the year, and the unwanted free time stuck at home the pandemic has forced on many people.

Author: Jon Sarlin

Publication Date: 30 January 2021

Publication Site: CNN

Robinhood’s future is ‘toast,’ says ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Jordan Belfort



The self proclaimed “Wolf of Wall Street,” Jordan Belfort, expects the Robinhood trading platform to go out of business over the GameStop (GME) trading controversy. “I really believe the lawsuits are going to be very problematic,” Belfort told Yahoo Finance Live.

Belfort was the founder of the defunct Stratton Oakmont brokerage. He plead guilty in 1999 to running an illegal “pump and dump” stock scheme that cost his clients more than $100 million. Belfort served 22 months in federal prison and later authored a memoir, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which became a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

GameStop shares soared more than 1,600%, in three months, hitting $483 last week and that surprised Belfort. “When I first looked at it I said, ‘Yeah, it’s a modified pump and dump,’” he said.

Author: Adam Shapiro

Publication Date: 2 February 2021

Publication Site: Yahoo Finance

How GameStop’s Robinhood Boosters Are Clobbering Hedge Funds



Investors who sold GameStop short have lost $23.6 billion so far in 2021 through Wednesday, by the count of financial analytics firm S3 Partners. That includes $14.3 billion yesterday, as the retailer’s stock price shot up 135%.

In response to the controversy, Robinhood and Interactive Brokers Group curbed trading on GameStop, AMC, and several others Thursday morning. GameStop shares began to reverse direction. How long the restrictions would last was unclear. Frustrated amateur traders, of course, might just take their business to platforms that don’t limit them.

The pain is intense for these hedge funds. Citron Capital’s Andrew Left, often disparaged on Reddit, just said his firm folded a GameStop short bet, after losing 100% of its money spent on the transaction. Melvin Capital Management has slumped about 30% as the result of GameStop short sales, according to published reports. New York Mets owner Steve Cohen’s Point72 fund and Ken Griffin’s Citadel have stakes in Melvin.

Author: Larry Light

Publication Date: 28 January 2021

Publication Site: ai-CIO