Robinhood, the stock trading app, postpones UK launch 'indefinitely'

Steve O'Hear

Robinhood, the U.S.-based stock trading app, is postponing its U.K. launch "indefinitely," more than a year and a half after the company began executing on plans to cross the pond. It now intends to refocus its efforts on its home market.

In November last year, a U.K. waitlist was opened, garnering 250,000 signups. That's now in vain, with Robinhood shutting down the U.K. website and promising to delete customer email addresses in line with local privacy regulation. Prospective customers who registered were informed of the decision earlier this morning.

Commenting on the u-turn, a Robinhood spokesperson issued TechCrunch the following statement:

A lot has changed in the world over the past few months, and we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone our UK launch indefinitely. As a company, we are refocusing our efforts on strengthening our core business in the US. We know many people in the UK were excited to invest through Robinhood, and we regret that we cannot deliver our product to UK customers in 2020. Although our global expansion plans are on hold for now, we’re committed to democratising finance for more people around the world. We look forward to the day when we can bring this mission to the UK.

I also understand that Robinhood plans to transfer a number of U.K. staff to core U.S. team projects, where possible, and says it will support others to help transition into new jobs. A core team will remain at Robinhood U.K. for the time being.

Meanwhile, Robinhood's withdrawal from the U.K. is likely good news for U.K. upstart competitors. They include Freetrade, Bux, eToro and Revolut. As Yahoo News notes, it also comes amid a spate of bad publicity for the stock trading app, after the reported suicide of 20-year-old American Alex Kearns, who mistakingly believed he had run up debt of almost $750,000 trading complex options on Robinhood.