Orca’s CEO Denis Gulagin is no stranger to the banking world, having founded two online banking groups before developing Orca. Despite Gulagin’s Russian heritage, Orca is a very UK-centric investing app. It’s starting up with 250+ stocks on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), and it’s FSCS regulated, meaning your money is protected up to £85,000. It will only be available to UK residents upon launch, although Gulagin has promised that ‘stocks on the NYSE and NASDAQ are likely to be added as well’.
Update 08/06/2022: Orca are in the process of closing down their business.
The beta function has been released, with testing ongoing, and you’ll be able to make an account from an as-yet undisclosed date in December. So what exactly is this new platform offering to the market that hasn’t already been achieved by the myriad existing options such as Freetrade and Trading 212?
What makes Orca different to other trading apps?
The recent explosion of interest in CFD, day trading, and investing has presented a huge opportunity to trading apps, but left many consumers vulnerable. It’s a well-known statistic that the number of those who lose money on trading platforms averages around 76%. Tutorials on YouTube and “get rich quick” tips on TikTok have drawn in many overworked or out-of-work young people, encouraging them to start using trading apps with real money and little-to-no financial education.
Orca aims to herald a new era of responsible investing. The app is aimed at those with limited experience in trading and investment, providing them with education and tools for developing their know-how along every step of the way. These will include things like definitions of complex market terms, a glossary of abbreviations, news updates, and the use of fixed and trailing stops.
Orca vs. Freetrade
Interestingly, Orca will be charging £1 per trade for the foreseeable future, at least until a subscription product is made available. This is in part to their brand-new status, with much research and continual development needing to be executed in order to make the app a superior experience. Obviously, Freetrade is 100% free. Despite the target positioning of Orca towards new and amateur investors, the upfront fee per trade may deter those who are unfamiliar with the ultimate rewards of trading, and reluctant to part with any sum of money, no matter how small.
The other key differential seems to be the experience level of the user. A Freetrade account is extremely quick and easy to set up and start using. In some senses, it throws you in at the deep end. This is great if you’re an experienced trader, or if you’ve chosen to educate yourself via other avenues like trading forums, courses, or YouTube tutorials.
Gulagin has designed Orca to appeal to the users who might have ‘give[n] up on investing in the case of the first unsuccessful experience which caused money loss’. His goal is quite literally to tempt those who might have tried and failed with Freetrade or Trading 212 back into the world of investing. The idea is to keep you there with abundant support and educational resources. He speaks about ‘investing routines’ being ‘a nice and enjoyable habit’. In other words, Orca may not be for you if trading is a little more than a habit. If you’re still on the fence, you’ve still got a few days to decide before the big Orca launch. You can read more about the perks and pitfalls of Freetrade here