Anyone who’s seen the Apple TV show Ted Lasso will be well versed in the differences between American and British behaviours. Tea and biscuits, football draws, the underhand nature of the British press – it’s all in there.
One thing that’s not in there, though, is financial services. Which is a shame because there are lots of differences between financial practices in the US and the UK. One of them is the role of payment for order flow in retail stock trading. Payment for order flow underpins the business model of Robinhood, an American company named after a British legend. Yet in the UK, it is banned. If Ted were to pull out his phone to buy some UK-listed shares, the way his order is routed to the market would be very different to anything he may be used to back home.
It’s a topic worth exploring because European regulators are in the process of banning payment for order flow too and US regulators may very well follow. Against this backdrop, new business models are emerging.