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The app that makes buying shares “as easy as taking a selfie”

·4-min read
<p>A new breed of investor has been drawn to shares like GameStop</p> (AFP via Getty Images)

A new breed of investor has been drawn to shares like GameStop

(AFP via Getty Images)

What is dabbl?

dabbl is an app-only stockbroker. We have made buying and selling shares as accessible as possible – it’s really as simple as taking a selfie.

But does the market really need another share dealing platform?

Yes. There’s a huge knowledge gap for the majority when it comes to understanding what they need to do to invest. The focus on existing providers is either the wealthiest, or those who want a casino-like experience. We’re about building a long-term investing mindset and I think what we’ve seen in the market over the last few months underlines that’s missing. Yes, the next generation may want to invest by thinking about more than making a quick buck, but it’s collectively the industry to engage with them constructively make sure we offer the right platforms to help them build wealth in the long term.

Really?

Regulators and established investors alike have been expressing their concern at the gamification we’re seeing in the current generation of stockbrokers. Driven by “meme” stocks like GameStop, there has been a significant upswing in trading activity, but this remains focused on a small proportion of society – and most importantly ignores long term wealth creation.

How are you addressing this?

Three ways – our charging structure, our standard dealing policy and building better links between companies and investors.

Does this new breed of investor know what they’re doing?

I think it’s difficult to look around at the current situation where wealth inequality worsens every year and suggest that historically we – and indeed our ancestors - got the balance right. We know that the next generation want to invest in companies that are aligned with their beliefs, and research also shows us that their view of a successful outcome is fundamentally different. It’s about responsible investing and goes well beyond capital appreciation. We’re ensuring there’s an affordable and accessible way to take control of your investments and not just have to rely on passive funds to do the job.

So, you’re not free?

That’s right. Share dealing in the UK comes with exchange and registry costs that have to be paid somehow – there’s no such thing as a free trade. So we believe it is fairer to make a small monthly fee - £2 – which covers the first three trades. That means orders will always be executed when clients expect it, even on the smaller shares we quote.

What about this dealing policy?

Again, to keep a lid on costs, we bulk up all the trades every day and process them in one block at 3pm. That’s not unusual – it’s what happens when you invest in something like a pension, and also discourages people from short term trading. Equity investing should for the majority be done with a long-term horizon, rather than scalping the market for a penny here and there. If you do want to trade immediately, this is possible for an extra charge – which simply covers our costs.

I can see that you are cheap, that’s good. But there must be a catch in terms of service. And how can you make a profit at that price?

We have built a system from the ground up that runs in the most efficient way without any unnecessary bolt-ons. That ensures we have a streamlined service, allows us to keep our costs low and in turn enables us to pass the savings back to customers. Our mission is to make investing accessible to everyone and we know there’s a market of millions in the UK alone who can afford to invest but don’t. Our unique approach to investing enables us to engage with this market on a low-margin, high volume basis, and we’re already in advance talks when it comes to entering overseas markets.

And what’s this about building better ties?

We know that today’s investor is more inclined to buy shares in companies they have relationships with. Those using dabbl have the ability to benefit from a series of select partner offers from companies they invest in, beyond the traditional perks and benefits. We’re still in the early stages of this but expect to announce the first participating companies very soon.

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