What Robinhood has been up to since January
We have been rapidly improving the experience so that our customers remain confident in themselves as investors, and in us as a platform for the long term. To boot, we were recently named one of TIME’s most influential companies for 2021 — a huge honor we intend on living up to.
Women continue to comprise a growing portion of our customers with the number of women Robinhood customers nearly quadrupling between February 2020 and February 2021 — that’s a 369 percent year over year increase in women on our platform. Women now make up nearly 30 percent of active Robinhood customers. In addition, Robinhood now has seven times the number of women crypto customers it had at the end of 2020. This all on top of the increasingly diverse customer base we maintain. Per survey data, 37 percent of Robinhood’s customers are non-white, compared to just 20 percent at other brokerages. We mean it when we say we are all investors.
And we know that with popularity comes responsibility. Financial literacy across the industry is fundamental, as are the conversations we hold with customers, policymakers and the general public about how investing is a powerful and necessary element to generating wealth and closing the wealth gap in the U.S. We are committed to transparently providing all of our customers with information about how the investing world works. Robinhood is also committed to advancing discussions around the need for updates to the trade settlement process and we welcome the continued dialogue needed to make this solution become a reality.
Here’s more information about just some of the important things we’re working on.
Real Time Settlement
The events of this past January have shown us that we need to move away from the antiquated T+2 settlement system and towards real-time settlement. While Robinhood has advocated for real-time settlement, we have seen other important voices identify the need to shorten the settlement period. Take a look at the recent announcement from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, the Investment Company Institute, and the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation who are collaborating on efforts to accelerate the U.S. securities settlement cycle from T+2 to T+1.
As Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev put it earlier this year, “There is no reason why the greatest financial system the world has ever seen cannot settle trades in real time. Doing so would greatly mitigate the risk that such processing poses.” This would also benefit consumers, who have more control over their investments, and prevent the sort of erratic market upheaval we experienced earlier this year. We welcome the opportunity to speak with regulators and other stakeholders, and to work together to solve this problem.
We’ve also been working on continuing to bring Robinhood customers a simple and elegant platform with enhanced in-app education. In the past few months, we’ve redesigned parts of the Robinhood experience. The confetti that used to appear when a customer made their first trade has been replaced but we still celebrate when customers reach certain milestones. We’ve also incorporated our comprehensive knowledge base right into the app, so customers can make informed investing decisions. Robinhood is constantly iterating to build the best, most comprehensive, easy-to-use investing experience. We take feedback every day and incorporate it into our processes.
Additionally, Robinhood is committed to transparency. We are proud to have pioneered commission-free, no minimum investing through an industry-leading intuitive, easy-to-use platform. We disclose how we make money, as well as information about our customer order execution quality, right on our website. We think there is a great opportunity to continue to work together with legislators and regulators to bring the finance industry into the 21st century so that it serves all investors. We recognize that Congress and regulators have engaged for many years — and continue to engage — in reviews and discussions on important equity market structure matters including, for example, the various ways retail customer orders are executed, how market intermediaries are compensated for the products and services they provide to customers, and how these regulated practices are disclosed to the investing public. We support more review by policymakers and regulators to continue to evaluate transparency around retail order execution in the U.S.
Improving the customer experience
We’ve rolled out and announced a bunch of changes addressing a ton of different parts of the Robinhood experience. Most people encounter Robinhood through our app, and we’ve spent a lot of time this year revamping and refining how it works. We’ve updated the app with new informational features so that customers have educational resources at their fingertips, and redesigned how our customers celebrate important milestones on their investing journey.
This year, Robinhood has done a lot of investing of its own, expanding and improving our customer support in a number of ways. Live phone support is now available right in the app, and we’re using automation to make a faster experience that respects our customers’ valuable time. We know we have more work to do to ensure that Robinhood delivers the best customer support in the industry, and we are working every day to meet that goal.
Growing our teams
We’re not just focused on virtual features. We also recently announced plans to open new Robinhood offices in New York and Seattle to help us continue to scale to meet customer growth and build great products that meet our customers’ needs. And in our new office in Charlotte alone, we are looking to hire around 100 new customer experience representatives. Part of our commitment to making investing accessible to all is understanding different communities. That means having a physical presence throughout the United States, and meeting people where they are, in order to better understand how Robinhood can help them.
Robinhood’s customer service team tripled in 2020, and it will double in size in 2021. This includes hundreds of registered financial representatives in our newest locations in Colorado, Texas and Arizona, and representatives in our Florida location.
Connecting with our customers
As this year has shown, the markets and investment trends can be, um, unpredictable — which is why we’re also adamant about being transparent with investors. Our CEO, Vlad, holds regular fireside chats and takes questions directly from customers, and here on Robinhood’s blog, we regularly publish all sorts of posts to help our customers understand our goals, our strategy, and the complicated inner workings of the finance industry. Our engineering blog has even more detail about the ins and outs of what’s happening at Robinhood.
From the collective level to the individual — from free learning tools for everyone to personalized customer support — we’re working hard to improve the Robinhood experience every day.