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Robinhood to launch stock trading services in UK after failed attempts

Robinhood UK
Image credit: Sulastri Sulastri / Shutterstock

US-based stock trading app Robinhood will officially roll out in the UK in early 2024 after multiple previous attempts.

Robinhood, which offers 24-hour commission-free stock trading, has launched a waitlist for UK users and will grant access to its app over the following weeks with full availability expected next year.

Users in Britain will be able to invest in the 6,000 available US stocks, though UK stocks will not be immediately available. The company, which announced the launch on Thursday, said it would look into adding stocks from the London markets down the line.

The launch comes after two attempts from the company to gain a foothold in the UK. In 2019, the company secured regulatory approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) before scrapping its UK launch plans to focus efforts on the soaring demand in the US.

In 2022, Robinhood considered acquiring the UK-based crypto company Ziglu, however, the deal was ultimately called off.

Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev said that since its launch, the company always planned to expand internationally.

The launch is a mark of confidence from the US company in the regulatory environment in the UK, which has faced recent criticism for being overly strict. Tenev said he had a “constructive relationship” with the FCA.

“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,” said Tenev.

Lord Johnson, the minister for investment, said: “Our Global Investment Summit showed the world how we are rapidly becoming a science and tech superpower and I’m therefore delighted that Robinhood have 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 to our shores which create jobs and spur innovation in our world-leading tech sector.”

Robinhood has been gearing up for the launch for months, having hired former Barclays and Freetrade executive Jordan Sinclair to run Robinhood UK in July.

“For too long, UK investors have incurred high fees to invest in the US markets and earned low returns on their uninvested cash,” Sinclair said.

“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.”