Robinhood (company)

  (Redirected from Robinhood Markets)

Robinhood Markets, Inc. is a U.S.-based financial services company headquartered in Menlo Park, California.[2][3] The company offers a mobile app and website that offers people the ability to invest in stocks, ETFs, and options through Robinhood Financial and crypto trading through Robinhood Crypto.[4] Robinhood operates a website and mobile apps for iPhone, Apple Watch, and Android.[5][6][7] The company has no storefront offices and operates entirely online to operate without fees.[8]

Robinhood Markets Inc.
Financial Services
FoundedApril 18, 2013; 6 years ago (2013-04-18)
FounderVladimir Tenev (co-founder)
Baiju Bhatt (co-founder)
Headquarters,
Key people
Jason Warnick (CFO)
Gretchen Howard (COO)
ServicesStockbroker
Electronic trading platform
Number of employees
908 (2019[1])
SubsidiariesRobinhood Financial, LLC.
Robinhood Crypto, LLC.
Robinhood Securities, LLC.
Websitewww.robinhood.com

Robinhood is a FINRA-approved broker-dealer, registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation.[9][2] The company's main source of revenue comes from interest earned on customers' cash balances and margin lending.[10][11] According to the company it has 6 million users.[12]

HistoryEdit

Robinhood was founded in April 2013 by Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt, who had previously built high-frequency trading platforms for financial institutions in New York City.[9][13] The company's name comes from its mission to "provide everyone with access to the financial markets, not just the wealthy". Tenev noted that executing a trade cost brokerages "fractions of a penny" but they typically charged fees of $5 to $10 per trade, as well as required account minimums of $500 to $5,000.[14][15]

The app officially launched in March 2015.[16]

As of January 2015, 80% of the firm's customers belonged to the "millennial" demographic (people born in the 1980s through mid-1990s) and the average customer age was 26.[17] Fifty percent of users who have made a trade use the app daily and 90% use the app weekly.[18] By February 2018, Robinhood had 3 million user accounts, around the same number as the online broker E-Trade.[19]

In April 2017, Robinhood raised $110 million at a $1.3 billion valuation led by Yuri Milner of DST Global, Greenoaks Capital, and Thrive Capital.[20][21] On May 10, 2018, Robinhood closed a $363 million Series D financing round led by DST Global.[22] As of May 2018, Robinhood had raised a total of $539 million in venture capital funding, with the last valuation at $5.6 billion, up from their previous evaluation of $1.3 billion.[22] In May 2019, reports from Bloomberg and other outlets publicized Robinhood’s pursuit of an additional $200 million in funding, which could value the company in the $7 billion to $10 billion range.[23][24] In November 2019 an expansion to the United Kingdom was announced.[25]

ProductsEdit

Stock and ETF tradingEdit

Robinhood's original product was commission-free trades of stocks and exchange-traded funds. In February 2016 Robinhood introduced instant deposits, crediting users instantly for deposits up to $1,000; previously, funds took three days to appear via ACH transfer.[8] In September 2016 they launched Robinhood Gold, a premium subscription plan that offers up to $50,000 in instant deposits, margin trading, and more market analytics.[26] As of February 2017, the company had executed over $30 billion in trades.[10] In August 2017, the company began offering free stocks in exchange for referring new users.[27] Robinhood has prohibited its users from purchasing some high-risk penny stocks, such as banning purchases of Helios and Matheson Analytics, the owner of MoviePass, in August 2018.[28]

In October 2019 several major brokerages such as E-Trade, TD Ameritrade, and Charles Schwab announced in quick succession they were eliminating trading fees. Competition with Robinhood was cited as a reason.[29][30][31] Support for purchasing fractional shares was announced in December 2019.[32]

Cryptocurrency tradingEdit

On January 25, 2018, Robinhood announced a waitlist for commission-free cryptocurrency trading.[33][34] At the end of the first day the waitlist had grown to more than 1,250,000.[35] Robinhood began offering trading of Bitcoin and Ethereum to users in California, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Montana in February 2018.[36] In May 2018, Robinhood expanded its trading platform to Wisconsin and New Mexico.[37] By November 2019 trading was available in 46 states and the District of Columbia.[38]

BankingEdit

In June 2018, it was reported that Robinhood was in talks to obtain a United States banking license, with a spokesperson from the company claiming the company was in "constructive" talks with the U.S. OCC.[39]

In December Robinhood announced checking and savings accounts, with debit cards issued by Ohio-based Sutton Bank, to be available in early 2019.[40] Robinhood claimed the accounts would have a 3% annual interest rate; at the time of the announcement the highest interest rate on a savings account from a licensed bank was 2.36%.[41] Robinhood initially claimed the accounts would be SIPC insured, which the SIPC denied.[42] The products were rebranded as "Cash Management" the next day.[43] In January 2019 the waitlist and sign-up page were removed from the app.[44] A new Cash Management feature was announced in October 2019, with FDIC insurance from various partner banks and an annual 2.05% interest rate, though lowered before launch to 1.8% after a federal rate cut.[45] The feature launched in December 2019.[46]

ControversiesEdit

Payment for order flowEdit

Bloomberg News reported in October 2018 that Robinhood receives almost half of its revenue from payment for order flow.[47] The company later confirmed this on its corporate website when asked by CNBC.[48] The Wall Street Journal found that Robinhood "appears to be taking more cash for orders than rivals," by up to a 60-to-1 ratio, according to its regulatory filings.[49]

FINRA fined Robinhood $1.25M in December 2019 for failing to ensure that its customers received the best price for orders. All of Robinhood's trades between October 2016 and November 2017 were routed to companies that paid for order flow, and the company did not consider the price improvement which may have been obtained through other market makers.[50]

Security breachEdit

In July 2019, Robinhood admitted to storing customer passwords in cleartext and in readable form across their internal systems, according to emails it sent to affected customers. Robinhood declined to say how many customers were affected by the error and claims that it did not find any evidence of abuse.[51]

Infinite moneyEdit

In November 2019, a glitch was shared on the WallStreetBets subreddit that allowed Robinhood Gold users to borrow unlimited funds. The loophole was closed shortly thereafter and accounts that exploited it were suspended, but not before some accounts recorded six figure losses by using what WallStreetBets users dubbed the "infinite money cheat code."[52][53][54]

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit