Weekly Roundup

Retail Investor Participation: It was reported that as of 2023, the individual investor market reached $7.2 trillion in size, with retail investors’ share of total trading volume doubling over a decade.

Federal Government Shutdown Speculation: With a busy Congressional agenda, speculation continues over whether Congress will be able to finalize appropriations bills before October 1, the start of the next federal fiscal year, or risk a shutdown.

SEC Approves Contentious CAT Funding Model: After many years of debate and without clear industry consensus, the SEC held an Open Meeting, voting 3-2 to approve a funding model for the consolidated audit trail (CAT) that dissenters indicated could raise concerns of conflicts of interest, lack of cost controls, and without Congressional oversight of funding of a program approaching agency-like scale. Speculation about potential industry litigation continues.

Equity Market Data: The SEC took steps to have FINRA and 18 self-regulatory organizations affiliated with Cboe, Nasdaq, and NYSE to jointly develop a new National Market System (NMS) to properly publish publicly consolidated equity market data. The directive aimed to address conflict of interest and monopolistic control concerns by having the exchange groups disseminate important market data. Specifically, the order required the NMS to produce implementation timelines, periodic progress reports, updated conflicts-of-interest and confidentiality policies, specialized provisions for sharing protected information, and new rules regarding the formation of subcommittees on key issue areas.

Grayscale Bitcoin ETF: After winning its recent court battle against the SEC, Grayscale Investments urged the agency to swiftly approve its proposed bitcoin ETF.

Coinbase Prime Launch: Since the launch of Coinbase Prime, an institutional-grade crypto lending platform targeting U.S. institutional investors, the program has reportedly raised over $57 million.

Litigation Challenging SEC’s Private Fund Rules:  It was reported that a coalition of private equity, venture capital, and hedge fund groups are litigating against the SEC in a Texas-based federal appeals court to block sweeping new US regulations on private funds, approved by the SEC last week. The SEC’s rules require heightened disclosure and sets forth parameters on the treatment of customers — including pension funds, endowments, and other institutional investors.

In the Mix: This Week’s Top FinTech Thought Leader