JPMorgan launching free stock trading app

FILE PHOTO: Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S. on May 1, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon.
Thomson Reuters

JPMorgan is taking the plunge into the market for low-cost stock trading, another sign the investing giant is going after the business of younger, sexier startup firms like Robinhood.

The New York-based firm is launching its new investing app set to next week, according to a CNBC report. The new app would offer discounted stock trading, a portfolio-building feature, and access to the investment bank’s research

Customers who download JPMorgan’s banking app can get 100 free trades in the first year.

Across the brokerage industry firms have been under pressure to lower cost amid rising competition. Notably, California brokerage Robinhood pioneered free stock trading, forcing establishment firms like Fidelity and TDAmeritrade to slash their pricing. Most recently, Fidelity announced no-fee index funds.

Still, large firms like JPMorgan have been encroaching on Silicon Valley’s turf, offering more services that target millennials and inexperienced investors. Meanwhile, financial technology firms such as Robinhood and Betterment have been rolling out more advanced services to target wealthier clients. Robinhood, for instance, launched multi-leg options and Betterment, which had been the poster-child for automated investment advice, rolled-out a portfolio coupled with human advice.

JPMorgan has already taken a big step towards winning over the hearts of younger Americans with a new branch-less banking service, Finn. And the app’s autosave functionality mimics the key features of investing startup Acorns and Stash.

Devin Ryan, an analyst at JMP Securities, said JPMorgan’s recent moves shows that startups aren’t immune from big banks copy-catting and then improving upon services they pioneered.

“The best features that are getting launched today are being replicated in some cases by the incumbents,” Ryan said. “And in some cases the incumbents are launching them on their own.”

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