Robinhood is tired of listening to traditional investment bankers disparage the company.
Robinhood, the popular stock trading firm that gained notoriety during the GameStop short squeeze of 2021, has become a frequent target of the notoriously brash Charlie Munger, the 98-year-old investment tycoon and partner of Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway, who commended the company's recent woes as "just" over the weekend.
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“It is tiresome witnessing Mr. Munger mischaracterize a platform and customer base he knows nothing about,” Jacqueline Ortiz Ramsay, head of public policy for Robinhood, said in a written statement to the Washington Examiner. “He should just say what he really means: unless you look, think, and act like him, you cannot and should not be an investor.”
Since Robinhood gained attention in the investment world for enabling ordinary people and internet hooligans to counter Wall Street's squeeze on GameStop by coordinating a mass purchasing of GameStop stock, Munger has repeatedly taken aim at the company. He has derided Robinhood as a "gambling parlor masquerading as a respectable business" and accused it of misleading customers by telling them commissions are free.
During a question-and-answer session with Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting Saturday, Munger took note of Robinhood's recent financial woes. The company recently announced its revenue plummeted 43% during the first quarter, compared to last year.
"It’s so easy to overdo a good idea," Munger said. "Look what happened to Robinhood from its peak to its trough. Wasn’t that pretty obvious that something like that was going to happen?”
Munger pointed to Robinhood's business strategy of telling consumers that it doesn't charge a commission by relying on payment for order flow — the back-end payments it receives for directing clients to direct client trades to the dealer. Critics have derided the practice as a form of a kickback. Munger has maintained that Robinhood's "commissions are simply disguised in the trading."
"It was disgusting," he added. “And now, they’re unraveling. God is getting just."
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Robinhood has maintained its business model helps "democratize finance." By eliminating the upfront commission fee, the company enables everyday consumers to build their wealth, it contends.