It's close to a year since TechCrunch broke the news that Robinhood was secretly recruiting for the London office before plans to expand to England. And in August the US-based company, which spearheaded the "trade-free country" stock-side trade, announced it had received government approval to operate this pool side, signaling that the launch in the UK was indeed imminent. Now, wait almost completed, with the launch of the Robinhood UK waiting list.
In the classic feed and the public relations PR transfer on Tuesday – it was held when Robinhood introduced its investment platform to British customers, which included a number of local journalists, including this one, meaning the real launch – co-founder and co-CEO Vlad Tenev and President of Robinhood UK Wander Rutgers revealed that Robinhood UK will open its doors early next year.
"We are very pleased to announce that our waiting list for Robinhood UK will be aired," Tenev said. "Customers will be able to register for early access to our commission-free investment platform in the UK and this is very interesting for us because this will be our first direct international market and a very important step for us to fulfill our mission to democratize access to the financial system".
"We expect the product to be in the hands of customers in Q1 next year," Rutgers explained.
When it was launched, Robinhood would initially offer what Rutgers described as "the best of Robinhood" to Britain, including, of course, "commission-free" stock trading.
"It starts with our core platform: unlimited commissions free trade, no minimum accounts, and access to a large amount of equity from the US and from around the world," he told TechCrunch. "Secondly, we will allow instant deposits, instant trading, without foreign exchange fees. Users can easily finance from returning to the UK using a cellphone or debit card and withdraw it easily ".
In addition, the Robinhood UK app will include information to help trade, including videos from the Wall Street Journal, CNN and Reuters, along with features to help users track their investments, such as price movement alerts, analyst ratings, earnings, and can enter earnings reports. .
There will also be "snacks," Robinhood podcasts and daily bulletins, and "Robin Hood goals," a fintech premium subscription service for qualified professional investors.
What's very interesting about the launch of Robinhood that is waiting in the UK is that it won't happen without direct competition. In the commission-free investment room, Freetrade first came out of the gate, and has since joined the Revolut and Bux.
However, arguably, apart from the deep Robinhood pockets, the tide can lift all ships in the new brokerage room because these beginners try to grow the market by introducing new, younger people to invest, not just stealing customers from old players who wear higher fees.
"We have been very successful [in the U.S.] in attracting many types of customers, "Tenev said." You certainly know there are your first investors who didn't have a brokerage account before and found investments through Robinhood products. And, you know, we think there are quite a number of types of people in the UK too. And then there are also customers who invest a little more actively and intimately [with] the fee … I think will be able to attract customers from that group too. "
Meanwhile, an interesting element of the Robinhood-Revolut comparison is that the two companies share a number of investors, namely Index and DST. Both companies also have very high ratings too.
"This is not something we spend a lot of time talking to investors about," Tenev said when asked if he was worried that Revolut was now effectively a competitor, before giving a standard startup narrative about focusing on customers, not on competitors.
"We are certainly aware of competitors and, you know, believe that there are things we can learn from them, but in general, you know, we find that if our focus is on customers and listen very carefully to them, we build products that customers love and … which end up working really well. "
But what was Tenev's reaction when he first heard that Revolut launched trade without a commission?
"I don't really remember the exact reaction I had, but of course, you know, having competitors and people entering our space is not new to us," answered Robinhood co-CEO.