In brief

  • Mobile trading app Robinhood has added two new chief compliance officers.
  • Norm Ashkenas and Kelly Zigaitas both arrive with substantial financial industry experience.
  • Robinhood’s user count and company valuation have both surged in 2020.

Robinhood, the US-based mobile trading app that spans traditional investment and cryptocurrency alike, announced today that it has appointed a pair of chief compliance officers with experience in the traditional banking sector.

Norm Ashkenas will take charge on the Robinhood Finance side of things. He joins after holding the dual positions of SVP and Head of Compliance for Fidelity Institutional & Fidelity Brokerage Technology, and CCO for National Financial Services and Fidelity Distribution Co.

All told, Askenas spent 17 years with Fidelity, spanning multiple compliance leadership roles. Prior to that, he worked for Prudential Securities and Chemical Bank, and has served on multiple Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) committees.

Meanwhile, Kelly Zigaitas will be the new CCO for Robinhood Securities. Zigaitas joins from Wells Fargo Advisors, where she was Head of Oversight and Controls. She previously held roles at TD Ameritrade and Scottrade (acquired by TD Ameritrade). While at Scottrade, she led the project to modernize its compliance program.

“I’m thrilled to be joining a team that has already achieved so much by delivering a modern investing experience while maintaining such focus on its customers and its mission,” said Zigaitis, in a company blog post. “The passion Robinhood has for helping more people participate in the markets is unmatched and I look forward to working with everyone across the company as we continue to enable greater financial opportunity to all.”

The hires come during a period of immense growth for the app, especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In May, the company announced it had already added three million funded accounts for the year. Since then, Robinhood has announced multiple rounds of investment funding that have massively raised the value of the company, first to $8.6 million in July and then to $11.2 billion earlier this month.

However, that growth has not come without stumbles along the way. Robinhood faced criticism when its app went down multiple times in March amidst the COVID-led stock market crash, and in July the company scrapped its plans to expand into the UK after hiring local staff and taking steps toward a launch.

Most pressingly, 20-year-old user Alex Kearns reportedly committed suicide in June after seeing what appeared to be significant losses ($730,000) in his options trading account. Robinhood responded by announcing plans to revise the app interface and put access limits on options trading; it also announced a $250,000 donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.