Sad Customer - "Closing your Freetrade beta account"

Dear Freetrade team,

I want to make a premise. I am the customer 100XXX of Freetrade and I opened a beta account from the Netherlands in the early 2020. On top of that, I participated also in the last 2 crowdfunding rounds. With this I want to point out that I was one of the biggest supporter and believer in Freetrade and its mission.

However, today I received an email that made me a bit angry (…and sad at the same time) because Freetrade could have handled the situation much much better.

The email received about the fact that Freetrade is closing my beta account. The exact email is reported below:

Hi Francesco

We really appreciate your support in joining our beta launch to a select number of EEA customers. Your participation and feedback has been helpful for us to ensure our final product is suitable for people in the Netherlands. Thank you!

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be closing your Freetrade beta account, as we prepare for our pan-EEA launch under our EU-regulated entity.

Why is my account being closed?

Since our initial beta launch, European expansion has been a top priority for us as part of our mission to get everyone investing. We’ve made big steps forward, including securing our licence from Sweden’s financial regulator, receiving our pan-EEA passporting licence and onboarding our first private beta customers in Sweden.

As part of progressing this European rollout, we need to close any beta accounts held by EEA customers under our UK-regulated entity, Freetrade Limited.

What does this mean for me?

You have until 25 July 2022 to sell any investments and withdraw any funds in your Freetrade account. As of now, you will not be able to place any more buy orders. Once you have withdrawn any remaining cash, we’ll close your Freetrade account within two working days. You can also request a closing CSV statement of your account activity by replying this to email.

If you choose not to action this by 25 July 2022, or we do not hear back from you before then, we will execute the sell orders, and transfer the resulting cash on your behalf into the Wise account that you used to initially add cash to your Freetrade account.

Can I use Freetrade in the future?

Yes! Following our launch in Sweden, the Netherlands will be a key market for our European expansion and we can offer you the chance to become a customer again at the earliest opportunity. If you’d like to stay updated on our progress, let us know and we’ll add you to our mailing list.

We truly appreciate your support in getting us to this stage and look forward to welcoming you as a Freetrade customer again in the future.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused in this process. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

This is not neat from Freetrade to communicate this in such a short notice and in such a later stage. This potential issue could have been known long time ago and it could have been flagged much much earlier.

Now I am forced to close my positions and I will go for a 40% loss (given the recent market downturn). I would have liked much more if Freetrade would have communicate this 1 year ago so that I would have been fully aware on what was coming. So here you guys lacked clarity and transparency towards me…your customer.

I was somehow afraid that this would have happened so I even asked several time on the Freetrade community for clarification but nobody from Freetrade bothered to answer me (see screenshots below). This is not how you put your customers first (…especially early customers that are also shareholders).

I would like to have a clarification from the Freetrade Management team on the situation.

Cheers,
Francesco

34 Likes

Wow. Being forced to sell at a loss.
How can they just do this.
:face_with_raised_eyebrow:
If FT are forcing customers to sell and close they need to at least give customers the difference if their is a loss
No loyalty to you who signed up as a beta tester which benefited FT :man_shrugging:t2:
FT don’t care.

6 Likes

Better still, don’t close Francesco’s account until the Euro accounts are up and running, and automatically transfer over the holdings from the Beta account to the new account.

29 Likes

I don’t understand what else they could have done. It is regulations and their hands are tied.

1 Like

In Ireland is happening the same (Beta started in June 2019, almost 3 years). Those shares are under our name, so it should be possible to transfer them to another operator. Given the short time notice and the market situation, that option should be offered by Freetrade

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Indeed. But at least communicate it much earlier and not one month before they will close your account.

1 Like

Being more clear from the beggining for example, I don´t think they were notified on that yesterday. So they could have let us know earlier, specially when several questions have been raised through this years about the status of the european expansion

2 Likes

I fear this process may cost Freetrade dearly.

Those forced to close their accounts may never return and will surely share their experience with their family and friends.

This may become a strong blow on Freetrade’s reputation.

Sure, many of the new customers arriving after the effective launch in EU countries (and in the UK) will be unaware of this predicament, but that doesn’t make it feel right to me

17 Likes

If this is the case and legally allowed, I think Freetrade’s reputation would stand to gain, I mean not gain but have a lower negative impact, by offering this as a free option to those affected, because it would show Freetrade would be putting their customers interests first

1 Like

It probably should have been made clear at the start that as it was a beta you may need to close the account and therefore shouldn’t use it as your main account. not sure if that was in the terms?

1 Like

Hi @FRusso

I’m sorry we missed your earlier messages on this topic.

To you and anyone else reading this who’s in the same position, we understand your frustration.

The reason that timing has been unclear up until now, is that we have been finalising everything for the launch of our pan-European app.

For transparency, it’s not viable for us to have some EEA customers using the UK-regulated entity while the majority of others in the future will be under the EU-regulated entity.

We’re grateful for your support and want to try to make this transition as seamless as possible.

The best way to do so would be if you can either respond to the e-mail you’ve received or DM me here so that we can see what can be done.

Many thanks,

Sam

6 Likes

Hi Sam,

Thanks for taking the time for answering here. I do strongly disagree with the following statements:
For transparency, it’s not viable for us to have some EEA customers using the UK-regulated entity while the majority of others in the future will be under the EU-regulated entity.

I disagree because you penalize your older, loyal customers in favor of the new ones. So I read it as “you beta tester have done your part but now you are not useful anymore” sort of guinea pig that have serve their cause.

6 Likes

Surely there should be some clarity as to when affected beta users would be able to move to the EU-regulated entity before forcing them to close. Unfortunately it sounds like users will be out of the market for months (possibly years) and therefore move to a rival product.

4 Likes

Beta is beta which means a tester is sampling a product for an intended audience. Things do change in beta. Hopefully @FRusso only has a small amount invested.

4 Likes

I see this response as a continuation of non-transparency. Why can’t you make the response public??

3 Likes

This is pretty bad. One month is simply not enough, especially in these market conditions. The European beta testers have provided vital feedback and insight and deserve better.

22 Likes

I don’t usually dip in to these threads, but as a early investor I strongly agree. Surely they should be able to keep these Beta accounts dormant (so you can sell but not buy), and then when the new EU accounts are open they can just transfer?

Seems like a bit draconian to make them sell in the current downturn, with no option to re-buy at current low prices.

28 Likes

This is such a poor response. Just reads to me as “we forgot about you”.

11 Likes

I think freetrade is not looking great from a customer service standpoint.

I get it’s regulation, sure.

Forgive me for doing the cardinal sin, and mentioning T212 here.

From what I recall T212 kept open the accounts of EU based customers open until the EU license from CySec (regulator in Cyprus) came through.

Of course I’d be happy to stand corrected.

As I say I get freetrade as well as 212 have rules to follow.

If it turns out I’m correct, the way 212 handled this problem is a lot more easier and customer focused.

With the right fix, freetrade can come out of this with a good customer reputation

1 Like

Today, Irish beta tester users have received a communication enforcing us to sell everything due to the end of Beta program in the country due to the Swedish expansion.

This is really anoying as we were expecting to go from Beta to Alfa straigh away, specially in the current market situation , We have to sell low, and who knows when finally it will arrives to Ireland.
Beta started more than 2 years ago, and it doesnt seem that is going to arrive soon, therefore we wont be able to rebuy everything in short term.

I am really disappointed with this.

19 Likes