Robinhood's PR chief is leaving the popular trading app and the company is searching for a replacement
Robinhood's PR chief and one of its first employees, Jack Randall, is leaving the popular trading app as the company searches for his replacement. Robinhood just raised $200 million in Series G funding that gave it a valuation of $11.2 billion and has eyed an IPO. Over the past couple years, Robinhood has run afoul of regulators and in response, has bolstered its legal division by hiring a new chief legal officer, two deputy general counsels, and two chief compliance officers. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Jack Randall, Robinhood's head of communications and one of its first employees, is leaving after more than six years to become head of communications and an investor at Day One Ventures, which invests in early-stage companies like shoe company Atoms and DoNotPay, a legal services chatbot. Robinhood told Business Insider the company was searching for his replacement. Randall joined Robinhood as a summer intern after which Robinhood convinced him to quit college and become its 12th employee to boost awareness of the company and drive growth. He built a communications team of six who work in product, corporate, internal, and social. Randall said he was leaving because he wanted to work with early-stage companies again. "I was there for six years, which is a long time in tech, and as the company progressed and got bigger and bigger, I missed the early days where you talked about the product and value it brings to consumers and the sense of camaraderie among early team members," Randall told Business Insider. Robinhood has faced intense scrutiny as it's grown Robinhood just raised $200 million in Series G funding that gave it a valuation of $11.2 billion, and it has eyed an IPO, but it's faced intense scrutiny and controversy along the way. The Securities and Exchanges Commission and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority are investigating Robinhood for an outage in March after investors couldn't access the company's help center, website, or app for more than an entire trading day, according to Bloomberg. More than 400 complaints were filed against Robinhood to U.S. consumer protection agencies in the first half of 2020, Bloomberg reported. To alleviate concerns, Robinhood has hired a new chief legal officer, Dan Gallagher, a former Republican SEC commissioner. It's also brought on two deputy general counsels and two chief compliance officers. In 2018, the startup announced plans to launch a checking and savings product insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corp. despite not checking with the organization beforehand. Robinhood was forced to walk back the announcement shortly thereafter. The company had to deal with a bug in 2019 that allowed users to borrow seemingly unlimited amounts for trading. And this year a young Robinhood user died by suicide, thinking he lost over $730,000. Last week, Robinhood announced it hired two chief compliance officers: Norm Ashkenas for Robinhood Financial and Kelly Zigaitis for Robinhood Securities. Ashkenas was most recently SVP and head of compliance for Fidelity Institutional & Fidelity Brokerage Technology, while Zigaitis was head of oversight and controls at Wells Fargo Advisors.SEE ALSO: Meet the 22 executives at Edelman who are leading the world's largest public-relations firm through a recession and shift to creative https://www.businessinsider.com/22-power-players-at-edelman-the-worlds-largest-pr-firm-2020-8 Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why Pikes Peak is the most dangerous racetrack in America
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Investing feels more accessible than it's ever been. Whether you prefer a hands-off approach or...Investing feels more accessible than it's ever been. Whether you prefer a hands-off approach or love to pour over market research and make trades — or fall somewhere in between — the right investment app can make it that much easier to reach your goals. The best investment apps right now Brokerage Editor's rating (out of 5) Fees Best for E*TRADE 4.50 $0 trading 0.30% AUM fee; 0.65%-1.25% AUM fee for higher balances Fee-free trading and low-cost automated investing SoFi Invest 4.25 $0 trading No AUM fee 1.25% markup on cryptocurrency Fee-free automated investing and active trading Fidelity Go 3.88 $0 - $3/month 0.35%-0.50% AUM fee for higher balances No fund fees No-frills automated investing Robinhood 3.57 $0 trading Active investing Acorns 4.0 $1/month - $5/month Beginners Ellevest 4.5 $1/month - $9/month Goal-driven investing Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios 4.0 No AUM fee; $300 one-time + $30/month for higher balances Automated investing large balances In our search for the best investment apps, we considered what might be important to different types of investors, not the least of which is cost. You often need to spend money to make money, but it's possible to minimize fees and still maintain a quality investment strategy. Our list skews toward so-called robo-advisers — which use an algorithm to manage your investments — because, in many ways, they feel most accessible to average investors; fees and balance minimums are generally low and your big-picture goals can help create an individualized and diverse portfolio that doesn't require much ongoing maintenance. Table of Contents E*TRADE: Best investment app overall Why it stands out: E*TRADE is a one-stop-shop for investing. Whether you're a seasoned investor or a beginner, you'll find what you're looking for. E*TRADE recently eliminated all stock and ETF trading fees and offers over 4,000 no-load, no transaction-fee mutual funds. If you're not interested in self-directed investments, E*TRADE's Core Portfolios are a great option. After you fill out a risk profile to share your goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance, you'll get a recommended tax-sensitive portfolio of ETFs. You can further customize your portfolio as "socially responsible," which shifts your allocation to include an ETF with companies that have progressive social, environmental, and corporate practices, or "smart beta," which favors growth stocks in an attempt to outperform the market. To start investing, you'll need at least $500. If you're investing $25,000 or more, E*TRADE's Blend, Dedicated, and Fixed Income Portfolios are worth considering. In addition to a more customized portfolio, these plans include one-on-one advising with a financial consultant. Through E*TRADE's two mobile apps, you can access your accounts, make trades, view charts and research, and watch Bloomberg TV. Fees: For the active investor: $0 stock, ETF, and options trading For the passive investor: 0.30% annual AUM fee for a Core Portfolio (minimum balance of $500) For the high net worth investor: 0.65% to 0.90% annual AUM fee for a Blend Portfolio (minimum balance of $25,000); 0.95% to 1.25% annual AUM fee for a Dedicated Portfolio (minimum balance of $150,000); 0.35% to 0.75% annual AUM fee for a Fixed Income Portfolio (minimum balance of $250,000) Account types: Individual, joint, and custodial brokerage accounts; traditional, Roth, and SEP IRAs (includes rollovers) Look out for: While you're able to open an account and choose a Core Portfolio with $0 down, you'll need to fund the account with at least $500 to get started investing. Learn more about E*TRADE » SoFi Invest: Best fee-free investment app Why it stands out: You won't be charged any advisory fees, stock or ETF trade fees, or subscription fees to invest with SoFi. For those with a set-it-and-forget-it attitude, SoFi's automated investing platform will recommend a portfolio made up of ETFs, based on your risk tolerance. Once you decide which portfolio is appropriate, you can get started investing with as little as $1. You won't have to bother rebalancing your portfolio since SoFi will do it for you at least once a quarter, but if your goals or overall financial situation changes, you can adjust your portfolio and even set up an appointment with a SoFi financial planner at no extra cost. Keep in mind that you'll still have to pay fees to the funds you're invested in within your portfolio. Active investors don't pay transaction fees when buying and selling fractional shares, stocks, or ETFs. You can also invest in cryptocurrency but SoFi charges a markup of 1.25% on those transactions. SoFi Money (Member FDIC), a checking/savings account hybrid with a competitive interest rate, a debit card, and unlimited ATM fee reimbursements, can store money you're not ready to invest yet. Fees: $0 for automated investing and stock and ETF trades; 1.25% markup on crypto transactions. Account types: Individual and joint brokerage; Traditional, Roth, SEP IRAs (includes rollovers) Look out for: There are only five portfolio options available for passive investors, ranging from conservative to aggressive. Despite no advisory charges, you'll still incur fees from the ETFs included in your portfolio. Learn more about SoFi Invest » Fidelity Go: Best investment app for hands-off investors Why it stands out: Fidelity Go is an easy-to-understand investment app for those who don't want to spend a lot of time or incur too many fees building wealth. After answering a set of questions about your age, risk tolerance, and goals, a team of experts will select an appropriate portfolio made up exclusively of Fidelity Flex mutual funds, none of which charge additional management fees or fund expenses. That means you pay a flat 0.35% advisory fee, regardless of what you invest in. You only need $10 to get started investing, and the professionals behind Fidelity Go — not an algorithm — will rebalance your portfolio periodically. You can change your investment strategy at any time from seven different allocations ranging from conservative to aggressive. In August 2020, Fidelity changed up its pricing tiers and added an option for personalized financial planning. Fees: $0 for balances under $10,000 $3 a month for balances between $10,000 and $49,999 0.35% annual AUM fee for balances $50,000 and higher 0.50% annual AUM fee (minimum $25,000) for Fidelity Personalized Planning & Advice Account types: Individual and joint brokerage accounts; Traditional, Roth, SEP IRAs (includes rollovers) Look out for: There is customer support, but no option to connect with a human adviser one-on-one for financial planning unless you upgrade to the 0.50% AUM fee option. No tax-loss harvesting, which can be especially valuable for higher balances. Investments are limited to Fidelity Flex mutual funds, which may be limiting. Learn more about Fidelity Go » Robinhood: Best investment app for active investors Why it stands out: Robinhood is as simple as a commission-free trading app can be. Investors can buy and sell US-exchange listed stocks and ETFs (and fractional shares of both), options, and cryptocurrency without paying any fees. The minimum amount required to invest is just $1, but you need at least $25,000 in your account to day trade. For access to larger instant deposits, research reports from Morningstar, and NASDAQ market data, investors can upgrade to Robinhood Gold for a 30-day free trial and then $5 a month after that. The membership includes up to $50,000 in instant deposits, plus $1,000 of margin and a 5% interest charge on any excess margin used. Robinhood also has a no-fee, high-yield cash management account, which comes with a debit card and up to $1.25 million in FDIC insurance. Fees: $0 for daily trading of stocks, ETFs, options, and crypto; $5 for Robinhood Gold membership Account types: Individual brokerage Look out for: Robinhood has faced intensified public scrutiny throughout the coronavirus-induced market chaos. The New York Times reported that the app's gamelike interface encourages young and inexperienced investors to take too-big risks, often through "behavioral nudges and push notifications." After the suicide of a 20-year-old user who expressed confusion about the negative six-figure balance in his account after a complex options transaction, Robinhood announced a slew of changes, like adding more educational content around sophisticated options trading and hiring a specialist to assist users. Learn more about Robinhood » Acorns: Best investment app for beginners Why it stands out: A "micro-investing account" that lets you build your stake in the market a few cents and dollars at time, Acorns is one of the most approachable investment apps available. Portfolios are built around Modern Portfolio Theory to help investors achieve maximum returns at an appropriate risk level. As such, there are five pre-built portfolios, ranging from conservative to aggressive risk tolerance. Each includes up to seven ETFs from companies like BlackRock and Vanguard and is automatically rebalanced to maintain proper asset allocation. When you link your debit or credit card, Acorns will automatically round up each purchase to the nearest dollar and invest the unspent change in your portfolio. Through Acorns Found Money, an additional percentage of each purchase at select brands, including Walmart, Nike, and Airbnb, will be deposited into your investment account. It's like cash back, but the money goes directly toward your investments. For most people, those round-ups and additional retailer contributions don't add up to much, however, so we'd recommend supplementing with direct or recurring transfers to get the most out of Acorns. Note that Acorns recently restructured its subscription tiers, eliminating the $2 a month option. If you signed up for a $2 a month account prior to May 20, 2020, you will continue to pay that fee unless you change plans. Fees: Acorns Lite: $1/month for a brokerage account ($5 minimum to start investing) Acorns Personal: $3/month for a brokerage account, IRA, and checking account with debit card ($5 minimum to start investing) Acorns Family: $5/month for a brokerage account, IRA, investment account for kids (UTMA/UGMA), and checking account with debit card ($5 minimum to start investing) Account types: Individual brokerage account; Traditional, Roth, SEP IRAs; individual checking account Look out for: Acorns isn't as customizable as some of the other automated investing platforms. If you're looking to create your own portfolio so you can invest in specific companies or sectors, this investment app probably isn't right for you. Also, the monthly subscription fees may not seem high, but they could represent a hefty portion of your assets if you keep a small balance. Learn more about Acorns » Ellevest: Best investment app for goal-driven investing Why it stands out: Ellevest encourages you to build an investment philosophy around your goals, whether that's starting a business, having kids, splurging on a vacation or other big purchase, buying a home, retiring on time, or simply building wealth. Then, this female-forward online adviser takes it a step further and considers your gender, lifespan, and earning potential to create a custom portfolio of mostly ETFs. You can also opt for a socially responsible allocation, if that's important to you. As a fiduciary, Ellevest automatically rebalances and regularly updates your performance forecast, taking into consideration fees, taxes, and the occasional market crisis to show you whether you're on track to meet each of your goals — and what you can do to make up for it if you're not. The app also provides financial and career coaching and workshops — both within the membership offerings and à la carte — and most recently, banking accounts. Ellevest recently changed its pricing model and now charges a monthly membership fee ranging from $1 month to $9 a month. There are no additional investment advisory fees on top of the monthly membership, but there are underlying fees charged by the ETFs in your portfolio. Fees: Ellevest Essential: $1/month for a brokerage account, a no-fee checking account with a debit card, a no-fee savings account, and 20% off financial and career coaching sessions. Ellevest Plus: $5/month for everything included in Ellevest Essential, plus access to retirement planning specialists and help with account rollovers and 30% of coaching sessions. Ellevest Executive: $9/month for everything included in Ellevest Plus, in addition to up to six customized investment accounts for different goals, 50% of coaching sessions. Investment account types: Individual brokerage; Traditional, Roth, SEP IRAs (includes rollovers); checking and savings accounts. What to look out for: You'll have to spring for the higher-tier offerings if you want more specific guidance for your goals beyond "build wealth." Ellevest does not offer automated tax-loss harvesting, which can be valuable for investors with higher balances. As with any investment app that charges monthly fees rather than per-account advisory fees, it's important to note how much of your balance they represent. Learn more about Ellevest » Charles Schwab: Best investment app for auto-investing large balances Why it stands out: You'll find any type of investment you're looking for at Charles Schwab, from self-directed stock trading to mutual funds to retirement accounts, but it's the Schwab Intelligent Portfolio, the brokerage's robo-adviser, that ultimately outshines competitors. The Premium version requires a minimum investment balance of $25,000, but combines automated investing with ongoing financial planning. Your risk tolerance profile will help experts design a custom portfolio of Schwab ETFs that will be rebalanced regularly. All portfolios include a cash allocation, which is deposited in a Schwab high-yield account. A free add-on feature called Schwab Intelligent Income can help you generate a monthly paycheck from your brokerage or retirement accounts. You'll pay an initial planning fee of $300 to meet with a certified financial planner and a flat $30 a month for ongoing guidance whenever you need it, but no asset under management fee. Once your balance reaches $50,000, free tax-loss harvesting is available. There are also comprehensive online financial planning tools available that let you to link up various accounts to track your progress toward goals and forecast different scenarios on your own. Fees: Schwab Intelligent Portfolio: $0 advisory fee, but requires a minimum balance of $5,000 and does not include financial planner access Schwab Intelligent Portfolio Premium: $300 one-time financial planning fee and then $30 a month (minimum balance of $25,000) Account types: Individual, joint, custodial brokerage accounts; Traditional, Roth, SEP, SIMPLE, and rollover IRAs; trust accounts. Look out for: Minimum balance requirements disable anyone with less than $5,000 from investing in Schwab Intelligent Portfolios. As with any investment, you're responsible for paying the underlying fees in the ETFs in your portfolio. Learn more about Schwab Intelligent Portfolios » Others we considered and why they didn't make the cut Betterment: Betterment comes up short on financial planning tools available to the average investor and its advisory fee increases for account balances of $100,000 or more. Wealthfront: Wealthfront combines financial planning tools and robo-investing for a flat 0.25% advisory fee, but it also requires a $500 minimum balance to start investing, whereas Fidelity requires $10 and doesn't charge underlying ETF fees. M1: A good option for active or passive investors who want fee-free trading, fractional share investing, or custom portfolio building, but its research and guidance is not as intuitive or robust as some of the others. Wealthsimple: This investment app may be ideal for passive investors who want to invest in socially responsible companies, but the options are limited to three portfolios and the advisory fee is higher than competitors at 0.50% for balances under $100,000. TD Ameritrade: An incredibly research-rich investment app that recently slashed all trading fees, TD Ameritrade has a lot to offer, but its AUM fee for Essential Portfolios — its robo-adviser — is slightly higher than Wealthfront with the same investment minimum. Stash: Stash bundles a checking account, retirement accounts, and investments accounts together through a subscription model. It does make investing more accessible through fractional shares and customizable portfolios, but there are more cost-effective options for beginners. Ally Invest: This bank offers commission-free trading, but for portfolio investing there's a 0.30% advisory fee unless you keep at least 30% of your holdings in cash at all times. Vanguard: An undeniable leader in investing, Vanguard is a worthy competitor to E*TRADE and a few other stalwarts, but it doesn't have as many clear options for passive investors who want to create a portfolio to match their goals, and its investment minimums are relatively high. Stockpile: A fine option if you want to invest in small amounts to start, but trades cost $0.99. Merrill Edge: A convenient option for Bank of America users, but the lowest tier of managed portfolios command an annual fee between 0.30% and 0.45% on a minimum balance of $5,000. Frequently asked questions Why trust our recommendations? Personal Finance Insider's mission is to help smart people make the best decisions with their money. We understand that "best" is often subjective, so in addition to highlighting the clear benefits of a financial product, we outline the limitations, too. We spent hours comparing and contrasting the features and fine print of various products so you don't have to. How did we chose the best investment apps? People may have varying risk capacities and financial goals they're working toward, but you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't prefer a cheaper way to invest. For that reason, cost was a huge factor in determining our list. To find the best investment apps, we set out to identify the companies that offer platforms that keep fees to a minimum (generally below 0.50% of assets under management, or AUM, for balances under $100,000) and offer a high-quality experience. In some cases, that means access to free financial planning tools — or financial planners themselves — and clear and easy-to-understand investment options. We compared nearly two dozen brokerages, placing heavy weighting on their advisory and trading fees, investment philosophy, investment options, and types of accounts available. User experience is also important, so we also looked at each brokerage's accompanying mobile app and scoured reviews on the Apple Store and Google Play to find out what regular users think of the product. Finally, we cross-referenced our research against popular comparison sites like Bankrate, the Balance, and NerdWallet to make sure we didn't miss a thing. What is the best investment app for beginners? In most cases, the best investment app for beginners is a robo-adviser that customizes a portfolio for you based on your goals and risk tolerance while keeping costs low, such as Fidelity, Acorns, or Ellevest. If you're just starting out investing, we don't recommend trading individual stocks and funds, unless you have guidance from an expert or a high capacity for risk. What is the best free investment app? SoFi Invest is a fee-free investment app accommodating both passive and active investors. There are no transaction fees on stock and ETF trades and no advisory fees for portfolio management. Investing through SoFi also gives you access to a financial planner at no additional charge. Keep in mind that you will pay fees to the funds you're invested in within your portfolio. Tanza Loudenback has been writing about money every day for more than three years. She is an expert on strategies for building wealth and financial products that help people make the most of their money. She is a candidate for the CFP® certification.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Epidemiologists debunk 13 coronavirus myths
Stock trading app Robinhood has indefinitely postponed its UK launch. The startup recently raised another $320...Stock trading app Robinhood has indefinitely postponed its UK launch. The startup recently raised another $320 million at a valuation of $8.6 billion amid a boom in activity as millennials flock to trading during coronavirus. A spokesperson for the company said: "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." Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Stock trading app Robinhood has postponed its UK launch indefinitely to focus its efforts on the US. The unicorn startup announced plans to expand to the UK in November but has delayed its launch date during the coronavirus pandemic. Robinhood will now take down its UK website, with 266,492 people on its waitlist. Robinhood has so far raised $1.5 billion in venture capital backing and has changed the landscape for equities trading mostly by attracting millennial traders to its platform. Now valued at $8.6 billion, the company has seen a boom in activity in the US as a new demographic looks to invest in financial markets. Robinhood has more than 13 million users and has added 3 million users in 2020. The average age of its users is 31. "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," a company spokesperson told Business Insider. "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." The company's success in recent months has not been completely smooth. Robinhood was reportedly forced to install protective glass at its San Francisco headquarters as angry traders visited its offices. Many young traders have made and lost huge sums of money, and one 20-year-old university student killed himself after seeing he had a negative cash balance of $730,000 in his account. The canceled launch may come as a relief to competing finance apps in Europe. Challenger bank Revolut offers stock trading through its app while rival trading app Freetrade has its own service for UK investors. "Robinhood's entry would have brought with it significant category marketing spend — which would have been a boon for all players in the market," Vinoth Jayakumar, a partner at London-based VC Draper Esprit and an investor in Freetrade told Business Insider. "However, millennials are increasingly more 'self-directed' in making wealth management decisions, so there is already increasing awareness of the options available to them." If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.SEE ALSO: Robinhood had to install protective glass after frustrated traders kept showing up at its office Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: July 15 is Tax Day — here's what it's like to do your own taxes for the very first time
Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Wednesday. Google recommended all...Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Wednesday. Google recommended all North America employees work from home over coronavirus fears. Google had previously instructed workers at its offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dublin, and Seattle to avoid going into the office. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan's charity wants to 'quadruple' the Bay Area's COVID-19 testing capacity in under a week by buying diagnostic machines. The task force will also include members from Stanford University and UCSF. Google set up a fund to offer paid sick leave to contractors and temp workers who can't work due to COVID-19 symptoms or quarantines. Google relies on roughly 120,000 such workers, who outnumber its 100,000 full-time employees, according to the New York Times. Elon Musk says Tesla is scouting locations for a Cybertruck factory in the 'central USA.' Musk also tweeted that the automaker is looking to produce its Model Y crossover SUV on the east coast. Snap's second-ever partner summit will now be online only, amid the cancelation of major tech events. In a statement to invitees seen by BI, Snap said it would make its keynote speech and product announcements online "out of an abundance of caution for the well-being of our partners and our team." Two attendees of the RSA cybersecurity conference in San Francisco tested positive with coronavirus, after it became one of the few big tech trade shows not to cancel. One of the employees, a 45-year-old man with a heart condition, is very ill, Bloomberg reports. Early Google and Apple backer Sequoia Capital hired its first partner in Europe, marking its formal expansion into the continent. The VC has poached Accel's Luciana Lixandru as its first European partner. Stock trading app Robinhood was crippled by another major outage as markets absorb the historic coronavirus related sell-off. Robinhood, popular with young investors, experienced another major outage on Monday amid market turmoil. Microsoft announced a coordinated takedown of Necurs, one of the largest spam and malware botnets known to date. The company worked with partners in 35 countries to take down the botnet which is believed to have infected more than nine million computers worldwide, according to ZDNet. Two prominent European investors say hedge fund-style alternative data will give them an edge over rival VCs. Jigsaw VC is a new $75 million early-stage investment vehicle founded by former Global Founders Capital investor Dan Jones and ex-Anthemis Exponential VC Dan Smith. Have an Amazon Alexa device? Now you can hear 10 Things in Tech each morning. Just search for "Business Insider" in your Alexa's flash briefing settings. You can also subscribe to this newsletter here — just tick "10 Things in Tech You Need to Know."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Jeff Bezos reportedly just spent $165 million on a Beverly Hills estate — here are all the ways the world's richest man makes and spends his money