Robinhood wins FCA approval to operate as broker in UK

Fintech challenger bank Robinhood has been granted regulatory approval to operate in the U.K., in a move expect to open up a significant new market for the firm.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which regulates financial markets in the U.K., has given Robinhood authorization to operate as a broker within the country, which is expected to allow the firm to take its investment platform to more customers in the country.

The approval of the regulator is a requirement under U.K. law for firms wishing to provide investment and other financial products, with the award effectively the green light for Robinhood to operate in U.K. markets.

According to a post on their blog, Robinhood described the authorization as “a critical step to achieve our mission of democratizing finance for all.”

The news means the U.K. becomes the latest jurisdiction in which Robinhood is allowed to operate, as part of the firm’s strategy to provide financial services to a global audience. It comes alongside an announcement that the firm has appointed a new president in Wander Rutgers. Rutgers is set to head up the launch of the U.K. operation, and will be stationed at the firm’s London office.

Rutgers joins the firm from Plum, where he served as head of their flagship investment and savings products, with extensive career experience in fintech which also includes time in operations at TransferWise.

Rutgers said the authorization of the regulator was an “important steps” towards a wider Robinhood rollout in the country.

“Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for Robinhood, and we’re excited to take the first important step towards bringing our investing platform to customers in the U.K.,” he said.

Robinhood promises commission-free investment in instruments including cryptocurrencies, ETFs and options, as well as a range of other financial products.

With the U.K. now the latest market to be added to the list of jurisdictions in which the firm is allowed to operate, their goal of “democratising finance for all” on a global scale moves one step closer to reality.

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