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Robinhood Adds Compliance Chiefs as Consumer Complaints Rise (1)

Sept. 1, 2020, 10:37 AM; Updated: Sept. 1, 2020, 5:04 PM

Robinhood Markets Inc. is bringing on two new chief compliance officers as it copes with customer complaints and regulatory scrutiny.

The stock trading startup, now valued at more than $11 billion, said in a statement that Norman Ashkenas and Kelly Zigaitis will come aboard in September to bolster the company’s brokerage industry compliance efforts. The moves come as U.S. consumer protection agencies say they have received a slew of complaints about the online brokerage.

Zigaits, who spent the past year as head of oversight and controls at Wells Fargo Advisors LLC, the brokerage unit of Wells Fargo & Co., will serve as compliance chief for Robinhood Securities. She previously spent eight years as a managing director of retail supervision and controls at TD Ameritrade Holding Corp., now set to be acquired by Charles Schwab Corp., and five years as compliance chief for Scottrade Financial Services Inc., which was absorbed by TD Ameritrade in 2017.

Ashkenas, most recently compliance chief for the clearing, custody, and brokerage technology divisions of Fidelity Investments, will take over the top compliance role at Robinhood Financial. He spent more than 17 years in a variety of compliance roles at Fidelity, having previously served as a senior vice president for regulatory and compliance examinations at Prudential Securities Inc.

In a statement issued by Robinhood, the two lawyers said they looked forward to joining the company’s growing in-house team and helping the company expand into new financial markets. Robinhood has hired over a dozen lawyers this year.

The Menlo Park, Calif-based company in August added associate general counsel and head of regulatory clearing Caroline Langner, who was most recently director and managing counsel at Bank of New York Mellon Corp. clearing house Pershing LLC. Robinhood also reeled in Fox Rothschild associate Ciera Logan to serve as senior privacy counsel.

Daniel Gallagher Jr. replaced Anne Hoge as Robinhood’s chief legal officer in May. Gallagher, a former Securities and Exchange Commission member and partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr in Washington, brought on Lucas Moskowitz, a former colleague in private practice and public service, to be one of two new deputy general counsel.

Robust Recruitment

Robinhood isn’t the only fintech that’s been busy hiring in 2020.

  • Allston Holdings LLC, a fintech company facing a Justice Department probe into potential market manipulation, announced Aug. 3 that senior counsel Philip Pinc is its new general counsel. Pinc, a former associate at Katten Muchin Rosenman, takes over from former Katten partner Nancy Laethem Stern, who was promoted by the high-speed trading outfit to CEO. Chicago-based Allston, which earlier this year shed 20% of its workforce, elevated Stern to COO in 2019.
  • Paytm Mobile Solutions Pvt. Ltd., an Indian e-commerce payment and fintech company, hired Walmart India Pvt. Ltd. general counsel and chief ethics officer Urvashi Sahai in August to be its general counsel and senior vice president of legal. Sahai is one of up to 50 executives the company plans to hire as it expands, according to the Economic Times.
  • Sezzle Inc., a Minneapolis-based fintech payments platform and public benefit corporation, has hired former GitLab Inc. chief compliance officer Candice Ciresi as general counsel, replacing Donald McConnell, who remains with the company as its compliance chief. Ciresi quit GitLab, a software development startup, shortly before it hired a new legal chief in January.
(Adds information on Sezzle's legal and compliance structure in last paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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