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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Public App Takes Aim At Robinhood With Already-Viral Michael Bolton Ad

On the same day that it hit the wires that Robinhood’s CEO said it was “necessary” for the company’s business operations to sell its order flow (as we have been detailing at painstaking length here on Zero Hedge for years before it became a mainstream media story)…

…competing small brokerage app Public may have just hit the viral ad jackpot. Public is offering to pay defectors of other brokerage apps (obviously targeting Robinhood users) to take their holdings and ACAT them into a new account, should clients want to make the switch.

And the company decided there was no better way to get that point across than to have Michael Bolton sing a love song about it. Which he did – and which is going viral. 

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On Tuesday, Public released a Michael Bolton song/ad called “Break Up with Your Broker”. The lyrics include such gems as “they told me about order flow”, and “tell me all about it, tell me who you sell my trades to.”

In a stroke of marketing genius – and great timing for Public – the app is being passed around social media and has even appeared on CNBC already. And that’s likely not good news for Robinhood.

Recall, we had just written about how smaller brokerage players were taking their shot at Robinhood now that the app was under fire from Congress, clients and, well, just about everybody else. 

Frustrated Robinhood customers wound up seeking out offerings from some of the smaller firms in the brokerage industry, steering away from the top 25 largest broker dealers in the U.S. by customers and/or assets, following the chaos, we wrote days ago. 

In the 3 days after Robinhood limited trading of heavily shorted stocks, Acorns Advisers gained 100,000 new customers and M1 Finance LLC was adding 20,000 customers a day at one point, Bloomberg reported last Thursday. The Acorns numbers dwarf its previous rate of accounts added, which stood at 258,000 for the entire month of January. M1’s rate of adding new customers was triple that of its average.

M1 said it saw about $150 million in assets transferred from other exchanges. This was due to “people fleeing Robinhood,” the company’s CEO said. “But we’re still small relative to
the other places.”

M1 now has over 500,000 accounts. Similarly, Public Holdings Inc.’s app clients were up 20x over the same period of time, the report notes. Public’s app focuses more on financial literacy, while the M1 app focuses on long-term investing. 

One customer who left Robinhood for Public’s app was 51 year old Navy veteran Chris Beaty, who said he left because Robinhood was “really, really corporate” and that it was a “morality issue”. He was trying to buy stock in AMC in late January when Robinhood restricted trade, and had previously used the app to “to trade stocks like Fulgent Genetics Inc., Coty Inc. and the digital cryptocurrency Dogecoin,” according to Bloomberg. 

“Next to Robinhood, they seemed to have the next best app and platform,” he said of his move to Public. 



Zerohedge

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