Robinhood adds ex-SEC official to board after regulatory issues

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Robinhood is getting a new board member: Dan Gallagher, a former commissioner for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The addition comes almost a year after a planned Robinhood checking account product was torpedoed by regulatory and insurance questions.

Gallagher will be Robinhood’s first independent board member, the startup plans to announce Monday. He was SEC commissioner from 2011 to 2015, and is currently the deputy chair of the securities department at law firm WilmerHale. Gallagher also previously held other positions at the SEC, including during the financial crisis, where he played a role in the aftermath of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.

In a statement, Robinhood Co-Chief Executive Officer Baiju Bhatt said the startup is focused on working “to make our financial system more inclusive. To support this, we continue to add leaders that have deep regulatory and financial backgrounds.”

Gallagher’s appointment comes at a critical time for Robinhood, which was most recently valued at $7.6 billion. Like many fintechs, the startup is aiming to launch more bank-like services, edging into a tightly regulated industry. Late last year, after the company attempted to launch a checking service for its customers, it was forced to quickly withdraw its plans as the Securities Investor Protection Corp. said it would not insure customer deposits, as Robinhood had said it would.