Freetrade fights to restore US market access

By Aisling Finn on Tuesday 2 February 2021

Savings and Investment

The whole company worked tirelessly over the weekend to enable Freetrade’s customers to buy US stocks. 

Freetrade fights to restore US market access
Image source: Adam Dodds (left)/Freetrade

Late last week Freetrade joined the ever-growing list of trading platforms throttling back the trading of US stocks.

Unlike Robinhood however, Freetrade’s limiting of US trading was due to its FX provider halting all trades of US stocks through its platform just minutes before the US market opened.

The move came after a massive surge in activity as the Reddit vs Wall Street battle rages on, with the fintech experiencing a ten-fold increase in the number of new customers on Friday alone. 

On Friday, Freetrade tweeted: “Due to a sudden and unexpected decision by our FX provider, and their bank, to limit our volume of trades, we have been forced to disable buy orders on US stocks today.”

“We're deeply unhappy with this decision and we are doing everything possible to rectify the situation.”

Freetrade reportedly uses Currencycloud for its foreign exchange transactions and the provider, in turn, uses Barclays bank.

To rectify the situation, the whole company worked over the weekend to ensure the trading of US stocks before the market opened on Monday afternoon.

Adam Dodds, CEO and co-founder of Freetrade, tweeted: “We have the whole company working this weekend. It’s intense, but we’re doing it for our customers.”

Following the herculean effort over the weekend, the Freetrade team found a way around the limited capacity enforced by its FX provider and gradually allowed certain stocks to be bought and sold at the market open.

The fintech eventually enabled the ‘Reddit stocks’—GameStop ($GME), Nokia ($NOK), BlackBerry ($BB) and AMC Entertainment ($AMC)— to be bought late on Monday afternoon, roughly two hours after the US market opened, with Dodds tweeting that he too had purchased GameStop stock as soon as he was able to on Monday.

Read More: The AltFi view on Gamestonk: Populism is coming to fintech

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