Working against the best interests of the biggest hedge funds in the U.S. can be a difficult way to do business - and it appears discount brokerage Robinhood may be finding this out the hard way.
Recall, it was about two months ago we noted that Robinhood was going to stop sharing its user data, effectively shutting down RobinTrack.net - a site that was being used to monitor the holdings of retail customers. The site was popular with the investing public - and especially by hedge funds and institutions who would scrape and monitor its data to get a pulse on the markets.
Just days after the decision we reported that Point 72 was desperately scrambling to try and get its hands on similar data. We had guessed that the site might just make the data available as part of a hedge fund product that it could sell to boost its top line.
Now, about two months after the decision to shut it down, Robinhood appears to be reconsidering. Robinhood co-founder Vladimir Tenev said "We're looking into it" in an interview with Bloomberg.
“We hear the desire to have some of that data available again. We want to make sure we have all the proper safeguards and the data is actually being presented in an accurate way that’s not confusing or misleading,” he continued.
Robinhood had claimed back in August that the way RobinTrack.net was reporting the data "could be misunderstood and wasn’t representative of how clients use the platform."
"Trends and data are often misconstrued and misunderstood," Robinhood said back in August. "The majority of its users" are buy and hold users, not daytraders, the brokerage said.
The company says now that if it turns the feature back on, it will probably be as an in-app feature, so they can monitor the way that the data is being represented.
Tenev concluded: “It’s interesting from an information and educational standpoint. That’s why I’m personally interested in figuring out a way to reintroduce it safely.”
We still think the company is missing out on a big opportunity to market the data as a product and wouldn't be surprised if that's next in the offing after this fuzzy sounding PR tour the company's executives are doing.