The US investment platform Public has launched in the UK. The investing app is backed by celebrity investors, and in the US it offers its members access to both mainstream investments and alternative asset classes.
The UK is going Public
Public, which has raised $300 million in venture capital backing, is based in New York City has launched a share trading platform in the UK that will offer access to more than 5000 US-listed securities, including stocks and ETFs.
Traders who sign up for Public will be able to trade those stocks and ETFs commission-free during regular US trading hours and will pay nothing for FX conversions on individual trades, and just 0.30% in FX fees related to any deposits and or withdrawals.
In the US Public differentiates itself by not participating in Payment for Order Flow the controversial practice in which retail brokerages sell their client order flow to, market makers and high-frequency-traders or HFTs.
Although it doesn’t explain exactly hows it’s able to offer commission-free trading without PFOF income.
App only investing
Public is an App based platform and investors can scan a QR code on the firm’s UK site to download the Public App and start creating their account.
Public offers a suite of tools to its clients to help them make investment choices these include fundamental stock data and analysis.
UK traders will shortly be able to access Alpha the firm’s AI co-pilot which can do things such as screen the markets, explore real-time and historic data, and summarize earnings calls just after they have aired.
There will also be access to an investment planning tool that will allow you to set up a portfolio of up to 20 assets that you make regular investments in, alongside live market analysis by experts.
Clients can also access additional, advanced features and tools if they upgrade to the firm’s premium account, which comes at a fee of $8.0 per month.
Premium clients get the added benefit of being able to trade commission-free in US pre and post-market sessions.
Does Public stand a chance in the UK?
Public is entering a crowded UK marketplace in which many brokers already offer commission-free trading in US stocks, and it remains to be seen whether Public can attract a sizeable client base against that backdrop.
In the US it’s been able to offer alternative investments such as cryptocurrencies and art and collectables, as well as US Treasury Bonds, though some of those opportunities may not be open to it in the UK.
Celebrity investors such as Will Smith, Sean “Diddy” Coombs, Maria Sharapova and skateboard legend Tony Hawkes add a certain cache to the business, but will that be enough to make it stand out from the crowd? And allow it to compete with well-established UK businesses such as IG Group or CMC Invest.
Brands which are well known to the UK investing and trading public.
If Public can offer something new and exciting through the use of AI investing tools then that could make a difference.
However, I note references to the upcoming consumer duty rules and the existing senior manager’s certification regime, in a recent speech about AI, by the FCA’s Chief executive Nikhil Rathi, suggesting that the onus will be on firms to ensure that any new tools satisfy regulatory requirements.