Weekly Roundup

Retail Rule Making: Trading firm Virtu Financial has sued the SEC to get more information about the agency’s plan to write new equity-trading rules. The firm submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in June to determine if the SEC had met legal requirements to evaluate potential investor harm and market risks while considering new rules for the handling and execution of retail stock orders. These new rules could affect how firms like Virtu process orders from retail traders. “We are alarmed by the current SEC’s comments that reflect the diversions from the SEC’s longstanding goal of enhancing and protecting the retail investor experience,” said Virtu Chief Executive Officer Doug Cifu.

Climate Conscious Card: TreeCard, a climate-conscious digital money app, recently raised $23 million from investors including Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, EQT, and World Fund. TreeCard uses 80% of the profits it makes from card interchange fees to plant trees through its partner, search engine Ecosia. Its successful fundraising highlights VC interest in companies addressing the climate crisis.

Regulatory Regimes: Calls to erect regulatory regimes to protect investors and consumers are mounting following FTX’s collapse.  “We’re going to have to work closely with our international partners to design a regulatory regime in a framework that helps us to make sure we protect the global economy as we think about innovation like cryptocurrency,” U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said.

Tether Loans: Tether Holdings Ltd., the company behind the tether stablecoin, has increasingly been lending its own coins to customers rather than selling them upfront for hard currency. The trend contributes to worries that the company may not have enough liquid assets to pay redemptions in a crisis.

Fintech Fraud: According to a new congressional report, fintech companies oversaw a disproportionately high rate of fraudulent loans through the Paycheck Protection Program during the Covid-19 pandemic. The report states that “at least tens of billions of dollars” from the federal loan program overseen by fintech firms were probably given to applicants who were ineligible or fraudulent.

Yahoo Retail Trading: According to a company source, Yahoo plans to add on new commerce and transaction businesses, such as sports betting and retail stock trading. The retail trading platform within Yahoo Finance would allow retail traders to leverage Yahoo Finance’s data as part of a full suite of end-to-end trading tools, including buying and selling stocks.

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

  • Adrian Griffiths, MEMX Head of Market Structure, released a white paper examining recent S&P 500 stock splits. The paper illustrates how changing the round lot in high-priced stocks could save investors $2 billion by narrowing spreads and reducing related transaction costs.

  • Changpeng Zhao, Binance CEO, said on Friday that “most governments now understand adoption [of crypto] will happen regardless” and that is it better to regulate the industry than fight against it. Despite the recent implosion in the crypto space, he expects the sector to recover – “just because FTX happened it does not mean that every other business is bad.

  • Lynn Martin, president of the New York Stock Exchange, spoke out about the impact of volatility and market uncertainly on companies going public. In the last year, initial public offering proceeds dropped by approximately 93% on average.

  • Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, said he “didn’t ever try to commit fraud”and “wasn’t trying to commingle funds” during his interview at the New York Times Dealbook Summit. Bankman-Fried attributed FTX’s failure to his not understanding how exposed his firm had become to troubles at Alameda Research, a hedge fund and market maker also founded by Bankman-Fried.

  • Episode 3 of Study Hall season 2 is out now! This week we’re demystifying saving with author Cady North and  American Retirement Association CEO Brain Graff