As Americans learned the hard way during the dot.com bust, there is already plenty of risk for the small investor in new stock issues. Now Wall Street wants to create more.
At both the March 9 Senate Banking Committee and March 17 House Financial Services Committee hearings on the conflicts with Robinhood and Citadel in trading small investors’ shares in GameStop and other meme stocks, the same witness was called by the Republican side of the Committees. His name is Michael Piwowar.
In Piwowar’s opening statements to both Committees, he introduced himself as the Executive Director of the think tank, the Milken Institute, and a former Commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission. He apparently supplied this same information to the Chairs of both Committees because that is also how Senate Banking Chair Sherrod Brown and House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters introduced Piwowar.
What was not disclosed for the public record at either hearing is the fact that Piwowar is also being paid as a Senior Advisor to a Wall Street trading firm called GTS. Wall Street On Parade verified that information with GTS. Piwowar has served as a Senior Advisor to GTS from March 2019 to the present, according to the company.
GTS is the majority owner of ClearList, which seeks to raise money for private companies. In January, the company received approval from the self-regulator, FINRA, to operate an alternative trading system (ATS) which the company said would pave the way “for ClearList to offer secondary trading in private company securities on its platform.”
And it just so happens that at both recent congressional hearings, Piwowar was pushing for the SEC to redefine its Accredited Investor definition to open the way for small investors to buy shares of private companies. This topic had nothing to do with the GameStop/Robinhood/Citadel issues around which the Committees had called the hearings, but Piwowar was determined to advance the topic…