Third time lucky as Robinhood secures long-sought after UK launch

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Robinhood has finally secured a UK launch after two previous attempts at transatlantic growth fell short of the mark.

The Californian company will take its stock trading services live in the UK over the following weeks, targeting a full launch of its product in 2024. Initially, only US stocks will be available for purchase and sale on the app, such as ADRs including TSLA, AMZN, and AAPL.

Kickstarting its UK launch, Robinhood has set up a waiting list which British customers can join and subsequently receive notifications for early signup. The group appears to be pursuing a snowball strategy also, by allowing waitlist customers to pass referral links to friends and family.

“Since we launched Robinhood a decade ago, it’s always been our vision to expand internationally,” said Vlad Tenev, CEO and Co-Founder of Robinhood.

“As a hub for innovation, global finance and top tech talent, the United Kingdom is an ideal place for us to launch our first international brokerage product. We look forward to continuing to engage with customers and policymakers as we expand our offerings in the UK.”

The company has tried to launch in the UK twice before, but both attempts did not reach fruition. The first in 2019 saw the company pursue a similar approach to today’s launch, with a waiting list set up for prospective British stock traders.

However, citing a surge in demand for its services back in the US in 2020 due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Robinhood cancelled the launch. In 2022, it attempted a second launch via acquisition, targeting a buyout of crypto trader Ziglu, but this was unsuccessful.

Now that it has finally achieved its long-running UK expansion goal, Robinhood believes it is poised to secure a strong standing in its new market and is confident in the potential of its ‘commission-free, no-account-minimums investing mode’.

Robinhood will ultimately go up against some established competitors in the stock trading space such as eToro, Trading212, Plus500, Trade Nation and XTB, among others.

Jordan Sinclair, President of Robinhood UK, explained: “For too long, UK investors have incurred high fees to invest in the US markets and earned low returns on their uninvested cash. 

“We’re excited to give UK customers access to the Robinhood experience, remove unnecessary fees, and join our more than 23 million investors. Ahead of our general availability early next year, we’ll listen to feedback from customers and enhance the localised offering. This is just the beginning for Robinhood UK and our global ambitions.”

Robinhood’s UK launch has also come at a significant time for the UK fintech sector, the growth and development of which has been highlighted as a key priority for the government.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been a prominent supporter of growth for fintech as a key sector of the British economy since his tenure as Chancellor of the Exchequer under former PM Boris Johnson.

The government’s ambitions for further development of technology, including fintech, were reiterated during the unveiling of the Autumn Budget last week, as well as in the recommendations of the Future of Payments Review, although this primarily focused on Open Banking.

Commenting on Robinhood’s UK launch, UK Minister for Investment, Lord Dominic Johnson, said: “Our Global Investment Summit showed the world how we are rapidly becoming a Science & Tech Superpower and I’m therefore delighted that Robinhood has chosen the UK as its first international brokerage market.

“Financial services and FinTech are thriving in the UK, and are magnets for huge levels of investment and venture capital on our shores which create jobs and spur innovation in our world leading tech sector.”