It's been a year since TechCrunch made the news that Robinhood is firmly hiring in a London office ahead of plans to expand into the UK. In August, a US-based company launched "non-trading countries" without stock trading. it has received regulatory approval to operate this side of the pond, which meant the launch was indeed forthcoming in the UK. Well, now it's a wait almost via, the launch of the Robinhood UK waiting list.
In a classic bait and makeover briefing on Tuesday – Robinhood unveiled its UK investing platform, which many local journalists, including this one, meant to actually launch – co-founder and co-chairman Vlad Tenev and Robinhood UK President Wander Rutgers reveal that Robinhood UK will open its doors early next year.
"We are extremely excited to announce that our waiting list for Robinhood UK will go live," Tenev said. "Buyers will be able to sign up for early access to our free UK investment platform, and this is very interesting to us because this will be our first vibrant international market and a very important step to fulfill our mission of democratizing access to the financial system."
"We expect the product to be in the hands of customers in the first quarter of next year," Rutgers explained.
When launched, Robinhood will initially offer the UK what Rutgers described as the "best of Robinhood", including, of course, the "commission" of stock trading.
"It all starts with our core platform: unlimited commission releases stores, without account minimization and access to a huge range of stocks from the US and from around the world," TechCrunch said. "Second, we will provide instant deposit, instant trading, no foreign exchange fees. Customers can very easily fund from any US back with a phone or debit card and withdraw just as easily."
In addition, the Robinhood UK app will feature information to help with trading, including videos from Wall Street Journal, CNN and Reuters, along with features to help users track their investments, such as price alerts, analyst ratings, earnings, and selectable in earnings reports.
There will also be “Snacks,” a daily podcast and Robinhood newsletter, and “Robin Hood Goals,” a premium subscription service for fintech premium qualifications for professional investors.
What is particularly interesting in presenting Robinhood's wait for the US market is that it will not be without direct competition. In a commission-free investment space, Freetrade first came out the door, and has since been joined by Revolut and Bux.
However, notwithstanding Robinhood's deep pockets, the rising tide could lift all ships in the neo-brokerage space as these beginners try to expand the market by introducing new, younger people to invest rather than just steal customers from existing ones who charge higher fee costs .
"We were very successful [in the U.S.] when attracting more types of customers, "Tenev said." You know, of course, that there is your first investor who does not have a brokerage account before and discovers an investment through a Robinhood product. And, you know, we think there are a lot of these people in the UK too. And there are buyers who invest a little more actively and are known [with] fees… I think these groups will also attract customers. "
Meanwhile, an intriguing element of any Robinhood-Revolut comparison is that the two companies share a number of investors, namely Index and DST. Both companies also have incredibly high values.
"We didn't spend a lot of time talking to our investors," Tenev said when asked if he was worried that Revolut was currently a competitor, before delivering the standard startup narrative of focusing on customers rather than competitors.
"We are certainly aware of competitors and, you believe, believe that there are things we can learn from them, but generally, you know, we have found that if our focus is on the customer and we listen to them closely, we build products that customers love and … it works very well in the end ".
But how did Tenev react when he first heard that Revolut was launching commission-free trading?
"I don't remember exactly the reaction I had, but certainly, you know, having competitors and people entering our space is nothing new to us," the Robinhood CEO replied.