Robinhood app green logo with gold Bitcoin in a brown wallet and keyboard on wood backround

Robinhood nears UK launch with new CEO

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Financial services platform Robinhood (NASDAQ: HOOD) is gearing up to launch its full-scale operations in the United Kingdom following the appointment of a CEO to head its subsidiary in the country.

Jordan Sinclair will steer the affairs of Robinhood’s U.K. subsidiary as the firm readies itself to offer services to U.K. residents. Sinclair’s appointment was approved by the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on July 18 “ to perform specific roles” in line with the watchdog’s regulations.

Prior to his appointment, Sinclair had a long stint in traditional finance, with roles spanning Barclays and Wells Fargo. According to details obtained from his LinkedIn profile, Sinclair served as the managing director at Freetrade for over 12 months before working with Robinhood.

The move brings Robinhood one step closer to its goal of launching a brokerage service to retail customers in the U.K. after its previous two attempts fell flat. The U.S.-based firm attempted to wade into the U.K. market back in 2019 but shelved plans to expand to strengthen its hold over the U.S. markets after creating a waiting list for U.K. residents.

A second expansion attempt through a planned acquisition of U.K.-based Ziglu failed as both entities could not reach an agreement in 2022. Learning from its two previous failures, Robinhood hopes its third attempt to launch operations in the U.K. will be a success.

Robinhood is currently shopping for key executives to join its new U.K. arm, with one job listing stating that the firm is “thrilled to be expanding internationally this year as Robinhood is hiring world-class talent in the UK.” Several regulatory filings with the FCA confirm Robinhood’s interest in offering services to retail clients in the U.K., with experts expecting the first offering to go live before the end of the year.

Analysts are predicting stiff competition between Robinhood and Freetrade, while Public.com has already made its debut in the U.K., setting the stage for a three-horse race in the country.

However, the trading platform CMC Markets warned that the retail stock industry could see dwindling volumes as “meme stock” speculators record low activity levels.

Robinhood gained global popularity after its customers launched a concerted effort to drive up the shares of GameStop in a short squeeze in January 2021.

Since bursting into the scene, Robinhood has had several brushes with U.S. regulators over compliance issues. In February, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an investigative subpoena to Robinhood over its custody and listing procedures. In its quest to remain regulatory compliant, Robinhood disclosed plans to delist several digital assets, including Solana (SOL) and Polygon (MATIC) (NASDAQ: MATIC-USD)after the SEC classified them as unregistered securities.

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