Home Estate Planning Robinhood rival Public.com suspending UK operations just eight months after launch

Robinhood rival Public.com suspending UK operations just eight months after launch

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Robinhood-rival Public.com is planning to shutter its UK operations just eight months after launch in order to “focus on US business”, City A.M. has learned.

In an email to users, seen by City A.M., the US-based share trading platform said it would be “suspending operations in the UK” as of 3rd May but its US business would continue unaffected.

In a statement, a spokesperson added that “all UK accounts will be closed after April 2024”.

“With even more accelerated growth in the US, especially from recent feature launches such as a five per cent high-yield account, corporate bonds and options trading, we decided it’s better to focus on US business for now,” the spokesperson said.

Based in New York, Public.com allowed UK users to invest in US stocks, ETFs, treasuries, alternatives, and crypto. 

The move to suspend its UK business marks a sharp turnaround for the firm which launched to much fanfare in July in its first foray outside the US.

At the time of the launch, the firm’s chief Leif Abraham described London as “the financial epicentre of Europe” and a “natural place for Public to start our international expansion”. 

It is unclear what the move will mean for jobs in its London office. The firm also has bases in Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

The decision to pull out comes amid growing competition in the retail investing market in the UK following the launch of US firm Robinhood last year.

The UK has proved a tricky market to break into for US based trading platforms. Rival Robinhood was forced to twice shelve its UK expansion plans before its successful launch last year, in a move that won the backing of the government.

US fintech firms have increasingly looked across the Atlantic as growth in their home market wanes. However, when Robinhood revealed its plans for expansion in November, analysts questioned whether the market was big enough to support the firm alongside Public.com, Freetrade and more established players like Hargreaves Lansdown and eToro.

“My question is if the UK market is big enough for three new players,” fintech analyst Simon Taylor said at the time.

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