Robinhood, the popular U.S. stock trading app, is set to make inroads into Britain. The California-based company by the same name has been granted broker authorization by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
"Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for Robinhood, and we're excited to take the first important step towards bringing our investing platform to customers in the U.K," Wander Rutgers, head of the company's U.K. division, stated on Thursday in a press release.
Robinhood was started in 2013 by founders Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt as a cheaper way to buy and sell U.S. stocks and shares and is currently valued at around $7.6 billion and claims to have 6 million users. Its U.K. venture is headed by former TransferWise Fintech executive Rutgers. Along with share and stock trading, it will also offer cryptocurrency trading options.
While the company is yet to announce a date for its U.K. launch, it has posted job openings for its U.K. office. The company had started the process in January this year, according to a report by TechCrunch published around the time.
Firms such as Robinhood are an indication of how the U.K. stock market is gearing toward Fintech. While the company is one of the leading players in the U.S. in commission-free app-based stock trading, it is set to compete with a range of companies and platforms. While Hargreaves Lansdown charges up to £11.95 per transaction as commission, apps such as Revolut already offer commission-free stock trading in the U.K. which currently lets users buy U.S. stocks, with a plan to provide European shares, stocks and ISAs in the future.
U.K. Fintech investment hit £3.3 billion in the last financial year, despite a slowdown later in the year. According to KPMG, this investment was four times higher year-on-year compared to 2017. The country also remains as the world leader in venture capital investment in Fintech, behind only China and the U.S. Within Europe, U.K. has the highest rate of investment, followed by Germany and Switzerland and receives 50 percent of its investment from the U.S. and Europe.