Retail investors got a rare chance to be heard on Robinhood's earnings call - and they wanted answers on everything from PFOF regulation to how to get branded merch

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Retail investors got a rare chance to be heard on Robinhood's earnings call - and they wanted answers on everything from PFOF regulation to how to get branded merch
Vlad Tenev, CEO and co-founder, Robinhood. Kimberly White/Getty Images for Robinhood
  • Retail investors had a rare chance to speak up during Robinhood's second quarter earnings call Wednesday.
  • Shareholders asked executives about payment for order flow, Robinhood's crypto wallet plans, and whether the app will offer tax-advantaged accounts.
  • One of the top shareholder questions was whether Robinhood will launch branded merchandise.

In line with its stated mission to "democratize finance for all," Robinhood allowed retail investors to speak up and ask questions during the brokerage app's second quarter earnings call on Wednesday.

While corporate earnings calls for public companies are open to any who wish to dial in, the Q&A portions are mostly limited to queries from institutional investors and analysts. Robinhood ahead of its earnings report received over 1,300 questions from shareholders and answered questions that had the top votes.

One of the top voted questions?

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"Can we get a Robinhood hat and hoodie jacket?"

The question speaks to the enthusiasm many retail investors have towards the brand. But alongside questions about Robinhood swag were more serious enquiries, including what Robinhood would do if payment for order flow was regulated.

"Payment for order flow is regulated already," replied CFO Jason Warnick. "It's been primarily focused on disclosures. And we do provide all the required disclosures and we do our best to explain how we make money and what payment for order flow is.

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81% of Robinhood's revenue came from payment for order flow in the first quarter of 2021. Analysts have raised concerns that Robinhood's business may be more vulnerable to further payment for order flow regulation than its competitors, as other brokerages don't derive as much revenue from the practice.

But Warnick said Robinhood is aiming to be the one app that customers go to "for all things money," which will lead to diversification in the company's revenue streams over time.

Another retail investor asked if Robinhood plans to create a cryptocurrency wallet. CEO Vlad Tenev said the option is a "key priority" for Robinhood, but did not offer a definitive timeline on when customers would see a wallet.

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He emphasized that Robinhood is working on making the crypto arm as safe as possible from a security and operations standpoint. Robinhood's surging revenue in the second quarter came largely from cryptocurrency trading.

The Menlo Park, California-based company is also looking at offering customers access to tax advantaged accounts like Roth IRAs and IRAs "in the future," said Tenev, answering another shareholder's question. But he added that Robinhood does not plan to announce new products during earnings releases.

As to the hoodie question, Warnick didn't make any promises.

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"We'd love to find a way to get that in the hands of our customers," he said. "So I can't make a commitment right now. But I will say that we'll go look at this. I think it's a great idea to get our branded merchandise in the hands of our community."

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