Freetrade launching in Europe: Will it become top dog?

Asia's Tech News Daily

Freetrade launching in Europe: Will it become top dog?
© Provided by This Is Money MailOnline logo

Viktor Nebehaj’s first encounter with Freetrade came via a Crowdcube funding campaign.

In a bold move, he emptied his bank accounts to become the first investor in the commission-free share investing app outside of founder Adam Dodds’ family and friends. It was a risk that paid off. 

Now Freetrade’s chief marketing officer, Nebehaj recently, alongside Dodds, has overseen the company’s seventh funding round raising on the very same platform he made his first investment. 

It surpassed its £1million target in seven minutes.

Freetrade launching in Europe: Will it become top dog?
© Provided by This Is Money (

A big advertisement push, not least its referral system which promises a free share worth up to £200, has seen Freetrade’s customer numbers surpass 1million and more than double its valuation from £270million to £650million in under a year.

It has attracted both a younger generation new to the world of investment and also older share investing hands tempted by the offer of free share-dealing.

That stands to contrast to established rivals who charge, including market leader Hargreaves Lansdown, where buying and selling shares costs £11.95 a time, and Interactive Investor, with its £7.99 dealing fee.

But how sustainable is Freetrade’s growth and just how different is the app from what’s offered by the old-school brokers? This is Money speaks to Viktor Nebehaj to find out.

‘I invested everything in Freetrade’

Freetrade is the brainchild of Canadian Adam Dodds, who moved to Britain after a stint in Asia.

In 2016, the former accountant spotted a gap in the investment market after deciding existing brokers were charging too high fees.

The concept resonated with Nebehaj, an early Google employee, who had moved to London after working in Ireland and across Asia.

“I thought that having an investment account should be as normal as having a bank account. The US, which is typically a few years ahead, was already well on its way.”  Viktor Nebehaj – Freetrade CMO

‘If you want any growth on your money you have to take some risk and look at other avenues,’ he says.

‘I thought that having an investment account should be as normal as having a bank account.

‘The US, which is typically a few years ahead, was already well on its way and I was really shocked that the UK was not already on its way.’

A keen investor himself, Nebehaj was involved in Monzo and Revolut’s first crowdfunding rounds.

‘But it’s all dwarfed by my investment in Freetrade… I looked across my various bank accounts in Ireland [and] in Hong Kong. 

‘I got all the money I could withdraw and I put it all into Freetrade… It was a pretty crazy move. I was left with £15 in my bank account.’

The significant investment caught Dodds’ eye and Nebehaj eventually joined as chief marketing officer and co-founder.

Since then Freetrade has seen enormous success. It has become one of the most popular investment apps with 1.1million users and £1billion in client assets.

Freetrade launching in Europe: Will it become top dog?
© Provided by This Is Money (

Freetrade leads the pack

Freetrade has positioned itself as a disruptor in an industry dominated by big names like Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell.

It has helped to drive interest in investment among younger people, not least because of its generous referral scheme. The median age of its users is 34 according to its latest pitch deck.

Since its launch in 2018, a wave of other commission-free apps have cropped up buoyed by the interest in investment during the pandemic.

Former Wise employees Martin Sokk and Mikhel Aamer recently launched Lightyear, which scraps all fees up to £3,000.

And even AJ Bell seems to have conceded that the zero commission model has its merits, recently announcing its plans to launch its own investment app.

Dodl will offer fee-free share and fund dealing with an annual charge of 0.15 per cent, compared to the £3.50 maximum monthly charge on shares, trusts and ETFs on the AJ Bell Youinvest platform.

Nebehaj insists: ‘We are the originals – we had this insight five years ago that investing is going to be normal.’

Freetrade users can start investing in over 6,000 UK and US stocks and ETFs with no annual administration charges and free dealing, they can also open or transfer an Isa or Sipp, but these come with extra costs of £3 and £9.99 per month, respectively.

While there is no charge for buying shares under its standard plan, not all investments are included, in order to access a wider market, including smaller company shares, investors can sign up to Freetrade Plus, which costs £9.99 per month. If they do that they do not pay the £3 monthly Isa fee or can pay £7 per month for a Sipp.

Freetrade Plus also allows investors to earn 3 per cent on up to £4,000 of cash in accounts.

Can Freetrade keep fees low?

With 600,000 funded accounts, Freetrade is now the second largest broker on the London Stock Exchange by number of trades.

Its success has coincided with the growing interest in investment over the pandemic, but it remains one of the newer kids on the block.

The apps challenging the challengers

There is a new breed of DIY investor and the return of individual share picking.

Established platforms like Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell have benefited from a growing number of investors, with both reporting record numbers since the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile, rival Interactive Investor is planning to join them by floating on the stock market itself.

Hot on their heels is a generation of new share trading apps which promise to ‘democratise’ the investment industry with low cost and sometimes free share dealing and the ability to invest for less in big US names by buying fractional shares.

Among this bunch, the already established eToro, Freetrade and Trading212 have all seen their popularity soar and are widely regarded as the chief challengers to more traditional DIY investing platforms.

But behind them is an even newer crop of platforms emerging that are looking to disrupt the industry even further. For these apps it’s not a question of making trading as cheap as possible, but harnessing tech to build wealth, offer something different, and challenge the challengers.

We look at how some of the new apps, Wombat, Circa5000, Plum and Lightyear, stack up against the more established players…


So can it keep its fees so low and make money? Nebehaj and Dodds seem to think so.

Where Freetrade differs from other platforms, Nebehaj says, is that it connects directly with the London Stock Exchange, cutting out the middleman and as a result, its costs.

Nebehaj says: ‘We decided to build our own brokerage system – it basically does the heavy lifting other brokerages do.

‘When it comes to new investment services typically they sit on top of a legacy provider or a different provider and they don’t build their own tech. 

‘Our mentality is that you can’t sustainably create a business that makes things a lot cheaper without going really deep and creating the technology behind it.

‘Our unit economics are actually really good. The more customers we have the cheaper it gets.’

Its recent £650million valuation target raised some eyebrows at 13 times projected 2022 revenues, although it is largely consistent across its listed peers.

But it has projected a £26million loss this year before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation as it doubles down on its investment in tech and marketing and a widening loss of £62million the following year.

It will need to continue balancing both newer and more experienced investors across its Isa and Sipp offering, which it introduced over the past year, and its premium subscription.

It has not disclosed how many of its users held Isa or Sipp accounts, although demand is understood to have risen significantly.

The introduction of cryptocurrency trading in the new year could also boost customer numbers although details of related fees are scarce.

European expansion

Where Freetrade has led the pack in the UK, it will be vying with rivals like Sequoia-backed Trade Republic when it moves into the continent in the new year.

Freetrade has incorporated a separate entity in Sweden to be properly regulated as a European financial services company, and Nebehaj plans to move there for the first few months of operating.

‘We chose Sweden… because it has a very reputable regulatory jurisdiction and not a lightweight one,’ he says.

Regulators in both Europe and the UK have started to crack down on what they deem as the ‘gamification’ of investing as well as crypto investing more generally.

The Financial Conduct Authority has said trading apps can make it ‘easier for consumers to make bad decisions’.

Nebehaj rejects any claim that Freetrade does the same. ‘We don’t gamify anything. I’d be hard pressed to think of any feature [that gamifies]. The engineering team don’t have time to gamify anything. 

‘It’s not something we think about… we’re focused on international expansion, which is a big structural improvement. We don’t have time to polish interactions too much.’

Where Freetrade does have the regulatory upper hand, particularly across Europe, is that it does not use payment for order flows.

The European Commission is set to ban the practice, which sees brokers receive payments from third parties for directing client order flow to them as execution venues.

There is some concern the players making use of this practice risk ruining the reputation of the wider platform industry.  

‘There are a lot of services… trying to make money on a lot of new people being switched on to investing and a lot of people try to take advantage of that…

‘Making money and building business? There’s nothing wrong with that – that’s what we are doing – but you have to have the right mentality and philosophy to building long term.’ 

Last month, when Freetrade reached 1million registered UK users, it said that was 400 per cent annual growth and October was record month for new funded customers, with 115,000 signing up – double that of January.

It will be hoping to take this kind of customer blueprint to Europe.   

Adam Dodds adds: ‘It’s humbling that our customers have entrusted over £1billion in assets with us. 

‘We built Freetrade to make investing more accessible, supporting our customers in making decisions that should benefit their finances over the long term. We’ve brought simple investing to hundreds of thousands of customers for the first time.

‘And we’re going to carry on this momentum with renewed dedication to a clear belief: investing should be accessible to everyone.’ 

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related


Journalist makes big Farhad Moshiri claim amid major next Everton manager development

© GiveMeSport Everton owner Farhad Moshiri waving on his way into Goodison Park Journalist Paul Brown feels that Everton’s owner Farhad Moshiri has a preference for bringing big-name managers to ... Read more »

Ex-Giuliani associate Fruman sentenced to one year in prison in campaign finance case

© Reuters/GO NAKAMURA FILE PHOTO: Igor Fruman departs the United States Courthouse in Manhattan By Luc Cohen NEW YORK (Reuters) -Igor Fruman, who helped Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Rudy ... Read more »

Fati diagnosed with hamstring injury after leaving pitch in tears during Barca's Copa del Rey crash out

Ansu Fati left Barcelona’s Copa del Rey match in tears on Thursday with the club confirming Friday that the young star has suffered another hamstring injury. The forward walked straight ... Read more »

Rescue team searching for humpback whale trapped in debris off Hawaii

© (Bryant Anderson/NOAA via Associated Press, File) Rescue team searching for humpback whale trapped in debris off Hawaii Officials are searching for a humpback whale that was entangled in heavy-gauge ... Read more »

Aston Villa tipped to seal Liverpool transfer after Steven Gerrard comments

Aston Villa have been tipped to complete a move for Liverpool defender Nathaniel Phillips. Phillips is available for transfer this month with the Reds expected to allow the centre-back to ... Read more »

Mitch McConnell says he's offended by criticism and calls his remarks on African-American voters an 'inadvertent omission'

© Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images Mitch McConnell said “it’s nonsense” to call him out over ... Read more »

Tottenham now ready to launch 'exciting' move for 'devastating' player; Conte is a 'huge fan'

© Provided by Transfer Tavern ac milan star franck kessie scores against empoli Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly still eyeing up a move to sign Franck Kessie in the January transfer ... Read more »

'We coming back for the Champions League', 'On my knees' - Many THFC fans wowed by transfer news

Lots of Tottenham Hotspur fans have taken to Twitter to share their thoughts on the fresh links to emerge over a potential swoop for Diego Carlos.  The Brazilian defender has ... Read more »

Dior reconstructs Paris in spectacular Fashion Week show

The Associated PressModels wear creations for the Dior fall-winter 22/23 men’s collection, in Paris, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Michel Euler) PARIS — Dior took over Paris’ iconic Place de ... Read more »

US unveils changes to attract foreign science, tech students

The Biden administration on Friday announced policy changes to attract international students specializing in science, technology, engineering and math — part of the broader effort to make the U.S. economy ... Read more »

Dad, 49, is found dead in his Maryland home surrounded 125 caged SNAKES, including illegal black mambas – the most venomous snakes in Africa - and a 14-foot Burmese python

David Riston, 49, was found dead inside his Pomfret, Maryland, home  housing 125 venomous and non-venomous snakes Deputies found no obvious signs of foul play; it's unknown if Riston's death was caused by one of his dangerous petsAnimal control officials found highly venomous black mambas, spitting cobras and rattlesnakes in Riston's menagerie Maryland law does not allow individuals to keep venomous snakes   Read more »

Kendall Jenner leaves little to the imagination as she flashes underboob in a TINY G-string bikini while holidaying in Aspen

She’s known for owning the catwalk as a world-famous supermodel. And Kendall Jenner proved to be the ultimate snow bunny as she played around in the snow wearing a tiny ... Read more »

Video: Betty White is seen in her last video which was recorded just 11 days before she died at age 99 as she thanks fans for their love and 'support'

Read more »

Frauen in der Mehrheit in Chiles künftiger Regierung

© Keystone/Agencia Uno/Karin Pozo/Agenciauno In der neuen chilenischen Regierung werden erstmals in der Geschichte des südamerikanischen Landes mehr Frauen als Männer sitzen. Dem Kabinett werden 14 Frauen und zehn Männer ... Read more »

Meat Loaf was reportedly anti-vaccine mandate before dying from COVID

The late rocker Meat Loaf was outspokenly anti-vaccine mandate and anti-mask before his COVID-related death —  once telling a reporter, “If I die, I die, but I’m not going to ... Read more »

Crystal Palace vs Liverpool live: How to watch, stream link, score, updates

Crystal Palace vs Liverpool live: Injuries and international call-ups will leave both the Eagles and the Reds shorthanded when they meet at Selhurst Park on Sunday (Watch live, 9 am ... Read more »

No Hillary — the 'Third Way' is the wrong way

© Getty Images No Hillary — the ‘Third Way’ is the wrong way Hillary Clinton, long an advocate of the “Third Way,” has recently urged Democrats not to go “too ... Read more »

NASA Mars rover dumps pesky pebbles that were clogging its sampling system

© Provided by CNET These pebbles interfered with the Perseverance rover’s ability to stow away a rock sample tube. NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS When Mars gives you pebbles, you give them back.  NASA’s ... Read more »

In photos: Russian military buildup near Ukraine's borders

New satellite photos show Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine as western nations fear a full invasion of the former Soviet state. © Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies Closer view of ... Read more »

Canada high school named after Prince Andrew will rename

© meanderingemu/Alamy A sign in front of the Prince Andrew High School in Dartmouth on January 14, 2022. The Prince Andrew High School in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, will be renamed ... Read more »

Poultry producer Pilgrim's Pride lifts wages in tornado-hit Mayfield

© Reuters/ADREES LATIF Devastating outbreak of tornadoes ripped through several U.S. states (Reuters) – Pilgrim’s Pride Corp said on Friday it would raise starting wages for workers at its Mayfield, ... Read more »

A new trial for Ghislaine Maxwell would 'go even worse' for her as accusers' lawyer says more women came forward after her sex-trafficking conviction

© REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg Witness “Kate” is questioned by prosecutor Lara Pomerantz during the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the Jeffrey Epstein associate accused of sex trafficking, in a courtroom sketch in ... Read more »

Jesse from hit 90s movie Free Willy looks totally unrecognisable 30 years on

FREE Willy is a childhood classic that tells the heart-warming tale of a young boy and an Orca whale that became best friends. After he vandalised the theme park where ... Read more »

8 COVID-19 deaths reported in Manitoba on Friday, hospitalizations drop by 1

© Evan Mitsui/CBC Manitoba’s COVID-19 hospitalization rate has lately been the highest among the provinces and territories. Eight deaths related to COVID-19 and a drop of one hospitalization due to ... Read more »

Is Your Child's Education Suffering as COVID Surges? Here Are Tips Straight from Experts

© Provided by People Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Early this week, 20 percent of the students and teachers were absent from school in the Springfield, Missouri school district where Cicely Woodard ... Read more »

FIFA 22: How to complete Lionel Messi vs. Robert Lewandowski TOTY Teams challenge

© Provided by GamePur The FIFA 22 Team of the Year (TOTY) promo is underway, and in conjunction with the launch, EA Sports and the FIFA team have released a ... Read more »

How to fix the 503 service unavailable error code in Roblox

© Provided by GamePur Although Roblox error codes in the past may have informed players that they simply have to restart the game’s launcher in order to log in, a ... Read more »

Novavax Covid vaccine: what is it and will it make a difference?

© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Dado Ruvić/Reuters Australia’s medicines regulator has approved the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine for use in adults. Nuvaxovid received provisional approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration ... Read more »

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas welcome surrogate child; Joe Jonas, Lilly Singh and Ryan Tedder send wishes

© Provided by Pinkvilla Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas have welcomed their first child together. “We are overjoyed to confirm that we have welcomed a baby via surrogate. We ... Read more »

The Callisto Protocol has given us so much by showing us very little

The Callisto Protocol takes PUBG Battlegrounds full circle. Well, sort of. The former isn’t a 100-person fight-to-the-death battle royale, but it is a horror game that shares the same universe. ... Read more »

Crying Cowboys fan talks viral meme fame: ‘Blew up pretty quickly'

The dejected fan is a hallmark of postseason sports broadcasts, and one of them called into a radio show to describe what it felt like to become a viral meme. ... Read more »

Rams Activate 3 Players Before Game vs. Buccaneers

© Provided by The Spun Darrell Henderson carries the ball. The Los Angeles Rams have gotten a bit healthier going into their Divisional Round game against the Buccaneers. Running back ... Read more »

Here's Our First Full Look at the Cadillac Escalade V

Just yesterday Cadillac teased the existence of a high-performance V-Series variant of its wildly popular Escalade full-size SUV. Now, the company has released a handful of photos, as well as ... Read more »

MICAH RICHARDS: Conte is the best manager Spurs could have wished for

Give him what he wants. It’s that simple. The future has the potential to be bright for Tottenham and it is down to the decision they made in November when ... Read more »

Democrats may have to sacrifice something big for the climate

© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Talks between President Joe Biden and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on Build Back Better have reportedly been frozen for weeks. Historic climate legislation may still have ... Read more »

Panthers reportedly hiring former Giants HC Ben McAdoo as OC

© CNP Ben McAdoo The Carolina Panthers are bringing in a familiar name as their new offensive coordinator. They are hiring former New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo to serve ... Read more »

'Excellent', 'Delighted' - Many AVFC fans erupt at 'great news' on 'class' player

© Provided by Transfer Tavern Kortney Hause takes out Pablo Fornals Aston Villa confirmed on Thursday evening that defender Kortney Hause has signed a new deal at Villa Park. And, ... Read more »

Look: Texas Announces New Job For Longtime TCU Coach Gary Patterson

© Provided by The Spun TCU Coach Gary Patterson crossing his arms. The reported hire of former longtime TCU head coach Gary Patterson has been all but confirmed for the ... Read more »

Largest US abortion protest could be last under Roe

Thousands of anti-abortion protesters have rallied in the US capital Friday with a growing sense of optimism that their goal was finally in reach: a sweeping rollback of abortion rights. ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic