Small investors and others watching the market gyrations around GameStop Corp. and other stocks have learned a long list of trading terms, including short squeeze, call options and gamma hedging. The decision by Robinhood Markets and other trading platforms to slam the door shut on the most volatile stocks is introducing them to two others, clearinghouse and collateral requirements. They’re parts of Wall Street’s infrastructure that are invisible, except when things get wild.
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., or DTCC, the main hub for U.S. stock markets, demanded large sums of collateral from brokerages including Robinhood that for weeks had facilitated spectacular jumps in shares such as GameStop. In response, Robinhood and some other trading platforms raised large sums of money to post with the DTCC to increase their backstop against losses. They also reined in the risk to themselves by banning certain trades. Robinhood also moved to unwind some client bets, igniting an outcry from customers.