Robinhood is now inviting UK customers to sign up to receive early access to commission-free stocks when the broker app launches in early 2020.
Finextra spoke to Robinhood’s UK president Wander Rutgers about the stock investing outfit’s journey from FCA authorisation to launch, how he intends on eradicating the British lacklustre approach to investment and what sets the company apart from competitors such as Freetrade, Plum and now Revolut, which have already made their mark in the UK.
With over six million US users, Rutgers highlights how Robinhood will now provide unlimited commission-free trades through its core platform with “no account minimums and access to over 1000 global stocks to the UK customers”, including fee-free flexibility with instant deposits and instant trades.
Rutgers explains that in addition to the core product, “Robinhood have invested in educating their customers about how to navigate the markets and stay on top of their investments with access to news and videos from The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and CNN Business.”
Robinhood users will also have access to analyst ratings, earning snapshots and candlestick charts, as well as financial newsletter Robinhood Snacks and can upgrade to premium market data tool Robinhood Gold.
Rutgers points out that the UK does not have an appetite for investment. Common misconceptions such as believing there is an exponential cost involved in investing or there are unavoidable risks involved have prevented Brits from taking the plunge, which means that “people leave their money in high street chain savings accounts that have returns or interest rates that are lower than ever.”
“At the same time, if you want to invest, you will have to pay £12 a trade, meaning unless you have a huge amount of cash at the time, it is quite difficult to get a return.” Rutgers goes on to explain that in the US, the company has grown as a result of word of mouth and believes that the same will occur in the UK.
“This is how we can overcome the barriers: by building a product that gets a smaller audience excited and then spread to more people.” But is word of mouth enough to compete against established players such as Revolut, Plum and Freetrade?
Rutgers says that “what sets us apart is our scale due to what we internally call ‘insane customer focus’. The second aspect of this is how we listen to our customers and build products around their problems.”