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In-house counsel on the move: Robinhood swipes compliance heads from Fidelity, Wells

(Reuters) - In-house hiring at fintech companies is showing no sign of letting up, and Robinhood Markets Inc is doing more than its fair share to keep up the trend.

IHC

The commission-free trading startup said in an Aug. 27 blog post that Norm Ashkenas is joining the company as chief compliance officer for Robinhood Financial, and Kelly Zigaitis will be chief compliance officer of Robinhood Securities.

Ashkenas led compliance for units of mutual fund giant Fidelity Investments, and Zigaitis was the former head of oversight and controls for Wells Fargo Advisors.

They’re at least Robinhood’s fourth and fifth major legal hires since May.

In August, Robinhood announced that former Applied Materials and Yahoo attorney Christina Lai had joined it as deputy general counsel. The month before that, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr partner Lucas Moskowitz joined the startup, also as deputy general counsel. Another Wilmer partner, Dan Gallagher, a former commissioner with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, was tapped as Robinhood’s general counsel in May.

Several fintech companies have also brought on new top lawyer talent in recent months, including cryptocurrency investor Paradigm, credit-card startup Brex Inc, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, blockchain company Bison Trails, cryptocurrency assets manager BlockFi and software startup Plaid Inc.

And some, including Robinhood, lured that talent in from traditional financial companies. Plaid in August announced Meredith Fuchs, most recently chief regulatory counsel at Capital One, as its general counsel.

ZOOM, GEICO AND KELLY

General counsel appointments have slowed as summer creeps to an end, but at least three public companies - Zoom Video Communications Inc, Geico Corp and Kelly Services Inc - recently tapped top lawyers.

Zoom, whose online meeting services have become a regular part of life in the United States during the coronavirus pandemic, hired longtime Silicon Valley lawyer Jeff True as its general counsel in August. He was most recently GC of Palo Alto Networks, where he grew the legal team from one person to about 60 people and led its initial public offering. He was previously GC of 2Wire, a broadband networking solutions company, and associate general counsel of Informatica.

Zoom bumped its former general counsel Aparna Bawa to chief operating officer in May.

Geico, a U.S. auto insurer grappling with a decline in driving stemming from the pandemic, on Wednesday announced it has promoted its deputy general counsel Jonathan Shafner to GC. He’s worked in-house at Geico for more than 25 years. His predecessor as GC, Hank Nayden, has retired.

Also on Wednesday, staffing company Kelly said it’s hired Vanessa Williams, a former senior legal and compliance counsel at IHS Markit, to serve as its GC. She started her career at law firm Plunkett & Cooney.

Kelly’s previous top lawyer, Hannah Lim-Johnson, joined trucking parts supplier Meritor Inc as chief legal officer in August.

Have a submission for In-house Counsel on the Move? Contact Caroline Spiezio at mailto:caroline.spiezio@thomsonreuters.com.

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