Weekly Roundup

Retail Investor Participation – Surging Globally
In Europe, it was reported that the retail investor base has doubled, with the share of total trading carried out by retail investors jumping at Euronext to 7% by mid-2020, up from 2% in 2019. In the U.S., retail investor participation is up from a 10 to 15% baseline in prior years to as high “up to 32% of total U.S. equity volume,” according to one analyst

Gensler Agenda on Equity Market Structure and Best Execution: Will Minimum Tick Sizes Further Narrow From a Penny to a HalfPenny?
Speculation continued on whether SEC Chairman Gary Gensler’s agenda on equity market review might includenarrowing the minimum tick size from a penny to a half penny increment. At a recent fintech conference, Genslerraised the issue of best execution and questioned the continued use by wholesalers of the national best bid and offer (NBBO) as a competitive benchmark of best execution, when the NBBO is priced in penny increments on exchanges,while off-exchanges transactions can be made at sub-penny increments.

Meme Stock Frenzy Continues
Experts continued to weigh in on so-called “meme stocks.” One hedge fund manager called meme stocks a “false market,” whileothers speculated on the potential likely timing of a “crash” in meme stocks based on “heavy insider selling” as a warning sign that a price is inflated.

Blockchain ETF – Speculation
It was projected that crypto mining and blockchain ETFs are among the “best-performing ETFs today.” The discussioncomes amid speculation of Bitcoin ETF’s regulatory approval in the future.

Source Code Theft
The Wall Street Journal reported on cyber-attacks on the proprietary source code of at least three video game publishers over thepast year, highlighting the importance of IP protection of source code from misappropriation and ransomware attack.

Expansion of “DeFi”
Media discussion continued of the “DeFi” (decentralized finance) space, with reporting regarding automated protocols running on the internet that are paying traders to provide liquidity for decentralized markets, with further regulation anticipated in this space in the future.

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

  • Antony Jenkins, CEO of fintech startup, 10x Future Technologies, has raised $187 million with backing from BlackRock and JP Morgan to expand his fintech venture to North America to expand banks’ digital transition plans.
  • Kathy Harrel, a member of the Cincinnati Police Department, was elected to serve as the President of the National Conference onPublic Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS), the voice of public pensions, for the next year. She will be the first woman to serve in this role as President.
  • The Mark Cuban-backed fintech and banking app Dave will go public through a SPAC merger under the ticker symbol DAVE; the name originated from the David vs. Goliath tale and has eliminated overdraft fees, and built up alternative credit history creation for a $1-per-month membership fee.