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Photo: Robinhood

It looks like a new checking account that pays 3% interest is not going to fly. Broker-dealer Robinhood announced the product with great fanfare on Thursday, saying that money deposited in its new checking and savings accounts would be protected up to $250,000 by the SIPC, which guarantees cash in brokerage accounts.

The bottom line: Robinhood is trying to game the system. It's a brokerage masquerading as a bank. It wants to get the advantages of being a bank, like deposit insurance and maturity transformation, without the concomitant regulatory oversight. That's very unlikely to fly.

What they're saying: Stephen Harbeck, the president and CEO of the SIPC, tells Axios that he never heard from Robinhood before the announcement, and that he will not insure such a product.

  • He only protects cash which is being used with the intention of purchasing securities. "Money that is doing nothing but earning interest looks like a loan," he says. "We do not protect loans to a broker-dealer."
  • The Robinhood website says that its checking account is insured by the SIPC and that “You do not need to invest to use Robinhood Checking & Savings."
  • "That statement is incorrect as a matter of law," says Harbeck. The Securities Investor Protection Act of 1970 does not protect money which is not being used to invest in securities.

Robinhood spokesperson: “We added new features to our Robinhood brokerage platform and are thrilled to give customers the opportunity to invest, save, and manage their money all in one Robinhood brokerage account. Robinhood brokerage accounts are protected by SIPC insurance.”

Go deeper

FAA clears more planes after 5G fears

Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday it had approved nearly 80% of the U.S. commercial fleet to perform low-visibility landings at airports with new 5G services after fears of signal interference limited 5G rollout.

Why it matters: The FAA approvals will help provide more certainty after the agency raised fears that 5G signals could reduce the accuracy of certain equipment, known as radio altimeters, that helps planes land and take off in inclement weather.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Peloton stock tanks on report of production halt

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Peloton stock fell by as much as 25% on Thursday, following a CNBC report that the connected fitness company will temporarily halt production on its bikes and treadmills.

Why it matters: Peloton is viewed by many as a proxy for consumer behavior in the pandemic era, as its popularity surged when gyms closed and people wanted to exercise at home.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters, WHO says — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older.
  5. Variant tracker