Public is on a mission to accelerate all people’s prosperity. We do this by making it possible to own the companies you believe in, with any amount of money — commission-free.
As a commission-free stock brokerage, we are often asked, “How do you make money?” We believe transparency is an important pillar of building trust, so here we go.
This is how we make money.
There are some people whose investment strategy includes shorting stock. Short selling simply means that someone will borrow stock in order to sell it at the current market price, all with the end goal of buying it back at a lower price and returning the borrowed shares to the lender. Their goal is to profit off the delta between the short sale and the cost of buying the shares back.
So, where does Public fit in? Our clearing firm is connected to a network of these types of investors and can lend out stock to them to short, which generates revenue for us. Importantly, this solution is entirely seamless, meaning that our members have an uninterrupted experience and are always able to sell their shares.
As disclosed in your application, our clearing firm is allowed to lend your securities to other correspondents. We make money on that via a lending rebate.
Interest on cash balances
Currently, Public passes most of the interest made on cash balances to our users by offering a competitive 2.5% interest rate on accounts up to $10,000. We earn interest on any uninvested cash that remains above this amount.
Smart order routing
We also make money through smart order routing. Our clearing firm directs our orders to order routing destinations, and on certain transactions, we receive a rebate. Bear in mind that it is the legal responsibility of the clearing firm to always seek the best price for your order, regardless of any potential rebate.
This revenue model could seem to incentivize retail investors to make trades at a higher frequency, which is risky for most everyday investors. At Public, we’re on a mission to advance our members’ prosperity through tools that enable long-term investing. It is not possible to day-trade on our platform, and so we believe our objectives are in line with the best interests of our members.
Currently, we don’t have any paid-for premium features, but as we develop the platform we intend to introduce new products for which we might charge a subscription fee.
As a venture-backed company — our investors Accel and Greycroft previously backed Venmo — we are focused on growing our community of everyday investors and providing the best service to them. Meeting these two objectives is foundational to our future success as a business, which is why they take precedence in all the decisions we make, big and small.
As Public grows and evolves, we commit to providing continued transparency to our customers regarding how we make money.
Questions about our business (or anything else)? Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.