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March 26, 2021

Making IPOs Accessible to Everyday Investors – News Roundup Mar. 22-26

This past Wednesday (March 24th) was Equal Pay Day. It represents how far into the next year on average it takes for women to earn the same amount of money as men did the previous year. And that’s just the average for all women. The stats are much worse for black women, Native American women, and Latina women.


The Business Buzz

When work from home becomes always working. Both CitiGroup and Goldman Sachs made news this week concerning the mental and physical health of their employees. Late last week an internal survey from junior investment analysts at Goldman Sachs revealed massive burnout from 100-hour work weeks. That story went viral, and this week CEO David Solomon responded to analysts’ concerns. He cited a strengthening of “the Saturday rule” — where junior bankers are not expected to work at all from Friday evening to Sunday morning — and an increase in hiring as strategies that Goldman Sachs is taking to alleviate the intense workloads.

Meanwhile, Citigroup has designated Fridays as “Zoom-free” days for all employees. Although meetings can still occur, they will be voice call only in order to offset Zoom fatigue. Additionally, new CEO Jane Fraser also announced a company-wide holiday — named Citi Rest Day — on May 28. She also presented plans for Citigroup’s eventual move back to the office. The bank will have most employees work on a hybrid schedule, with three days spent in the office and two as work-from-home. 

GameStop Hearings, part two. Remember when Reddit users sent GameStop shares soaring and Robinhood limited its users’ ability to buy the stock? Well, that saga is far from complete. This week the House Committee on Financial Services continued its hearings on the matter, albeit with far fewer headline-grabbing attendees. Payment for order flow was still a hot topic as was the definition of accredited investors. However, it’s important to remember that these hearings are intended to be informational — there’s no guarantee of any legislation resulting from what’s said or debated.


The Private Market

Emerging trend alert. Two different companies made news over plans to give everyday investors better access to IPOs this week. Robinhood came first (points for making it into the news roundup in both sections, right?). It intends to give its users access to its own upcoming IPO through a platform it’s building out. The platform will then be used to provide access to other companies’ IPOs in the future. However, none of this is set in stone. The news comes from an anonymous source, and Robinhood refused to comment. 

Similarly, SoFi also wants to give everyday investors a way to invest in IPOs before they hit the stock market. It intends to act as an underwriter on the deals, which will allow it to work directly with companies in deciding a share price and setting aside a number of shares for its users. Users with $3000 or more in their SoFi accounts will be able to designate how many shares they want to buy. And they’ll receive an alert when it’s confirmation time.

Both Robinhood’s and SoFi’s plans are big news because everyday investors have been traditionally excluded from the benefit of investing in IPOs before the pop that happens when they hit the public market officially. Institutional investors are given the opportunity to invest at cheaper prices before often seeing an almost immediate gain in value. Alongside startup investing, this is another sign of the democratization of investing across the board.

The Big Apple goes green. New York joined 15 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing marijuana for adults 21 and older this week. The market potential for the state is estimated at around $4.2 billion, making it the biggest legal cannabis market on the east coast at this time. With the legislation including the allowance of marijuana deliveries and pot lounges, there’s a lot of opportunity for new startups to spring up. A hard date for legal sales has not yet been set — legislators need to nail down the gritty details and regulations first.


The Fun Stuff

Honoring a legend. Jessica Walter passed away this week at the age of 82. I’m a big believer in celebrating someone’s life. So in celebration of Walter’s impressive, Emmy-winning career, here’s a list of the best Lucille Bluth moments from Walter’s role on Arrested Development.


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About: Aryelle Young

Aryelle Young is a published writer and editor with experience across industries. She has worked with an independent publishing company and as a proposal writer for a government contractor. Her original work has also been published in various journals and one short story collection. At KingsCrowd, she strives to provide insightful and actionable content for all readers. Aryelle graduated with a Creative Writing degree from George Mason University.

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