Australian trading platform Stake is beating Robinhood overseas, and says its traders aren’t just gambling on the stock market

Stake is opening up Wall Street to the world.
  • Zero-brokerage trading platform Stake has expanded to operate in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Brazil as well as its home market, Australia.
  • It comes as Robinhood pulls the plug on its own UK plans, and withdraws its Australian waitlist.
  • Stake CEO Matt Leibowitz told Business Insider Australia that while the two are quite different, Robinhood has helped pave the way for Stake to grow rapidly.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

While Robinhood and its traders have become synonymous with $0 commission share trading, it’s being outflanked internationally by a smaller Australian rival.

Stake, the Sydney-based commission-free broker, has been rapidly expanding during 2020 in a global land grab that has left Robinhood in its dust.

Having first introduced Australians to ‘free’ share trading back in 2017, founder and CEO Matt Leibowitz is cracking open the $US36 trillion American market for other countries that have been similarly locked out.

“When people think of the sharemarket, they think of Wall Street, and yet so many people around the world have been locked out of it. It’s actually ludicrous,” he told Business Insider Australia.

Stake CEO and co-founder Matt Leibowitz.

“It’s not just been Australia either which is why it was always the plan to go overseas.”

In February, Stake launched in the UK, followed by New Zealand in March and just this week opened to customers in Brazil. Leibowitz says Europe is next.

Stake is carving out a global market

It is in many ways the role that Robinhood was meant to fulfil. Instead, it withdrew long-held plans for a UK launch earlier this year.

It’s Australian waitlist meanwhile, opened back in 2015, has since been removed, leaving would-be disciples left empty-handed, and its global aspirations apparently withering on the vine.

Stake, meanwhile, is flourishing, on the way to doubling its user base since hitting the 100,000 mark back in June.

But while operating in the same space, Leibowitz says Stake and Robinhood aren’t offering the same thing, as Robinhood doubles down in the United States.

“I think their proposition is quite different and is about democratising the financial system in the US by making investing more affordable locally,” he said.

“Whereas Stake is actually democratising access to that global market. It’s about being able to make your money work for you no matter where you live. We think you should have the same opportunity with the use of technology.”

Far from critical, Leibowitz says he admires what Robinhood has been able to achieve and acknowledges there’s a debt of gratitude owed.

“They’ve really carved an amazing understanding of this new age broker that’s possible and in a way that has actually created a great road for us to become the Robinhood for the rest of the world,” he said

A different beast

But it ultimately may be a different path to the one that Robinhood has cut for itself.

Robinhood traders‘ has become polite parlance for amateurs taking a punt in wildly swinging markets. As markets briefly melted down in March before rebounding, there have been abundant opportunities to make – or lose – a fortune in the space of a few hours.

It has been perpetuated by the rise of a subculture that revolves around infamous internet forums such as WallStreetBets, which self-identifies as ‘Like 4Chan found a Bloomberg Terminal’, and its local counterpart, ASXBets, where users celebrate and commiserate ‘bets’ in equal measure.

But Leibowitz maintains that Stake is attracting a more experienced demographic.

“I think they’re a bit savvier. 77% of them have a local brokerage account and they’re using Stake to get access to the US market and because they don’t want to be restricted in that way,”

“Ultimately, they are people that want to take risk and grow their wealth in an active way, but I don’t think there’s any one-size-fits-all when it comes to investing.”