Meet Lightyear, a new London-based startup coming out of stealth today. The company is building a stock trading app with a focus on creating a genuinely commission-free app. In addition to waving account fees and trading fees, Lightyear doesn’t charge foreign exchange fees either — up to a certain point.
The two founders met when they were working at Wise — then known as TransferWise. That’s why it makes sense that Lightyear wants to stand out from the crowd with lower foreign exchange fees.
Martin Sokk, co-founder and CEO of Lightyear, worked at Wise between 2012 and 2017. He has held various roles, such as head of product, director of people, and head of operations. Mihkel Aamer, Lightyear’s other co-founder, and CTO was an engineering lead at Wise between 2013 and 2019.
“Having spent my career in financial services, I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. I believe retail investing in Europe is still very much ‘the ugly’ — we’re talking about sneaky fees, less access, and complicated products remaining as the status quo,” Martin Cook said in a statement. “We’re building something that will change that by opening up investing up to everyone, whichever global market they want to invest in and however much they want to invest. As a user, you can expect a mobile app to buy and sell shares and ETFs.
There will be 1,500 stocks and ETFs from multiple markets at launch. Customers won’t pay any account fees, trading fees, or foreign exchange fees. But there will be a limit on foreign exchange fees. After £3,000 per month, users will pay 0.35% in FX fees. The app isn’t quite ready just yet as Lightyear is opening up a waitlist today. The product should roll out at some point during the third quarter of this year.