- The “Big Short” investor Michael Burry criticized zero-commission trading apps on Tuesday.
- Some sell order flows to Wall Street and encourage risky, short-term bets, Burry said.
- Burry also blasted Robinhood’s gamification of investing, calling its app a “dangerous casino.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
“The #mainstreetrevolution is a myth,” the Scion Asset Management boss tweeted. “Zero commissions and gamified apps were designed to feed flows to the two most influential WS trading houses.”
Burry, best known for his starring role in Michael Lewis’ book “The Big Short,” was referring to Robinhood and some of its peers selling their order flows to Wall Street firms such as Citadel Securities and Virtu Financial.
“A few HFs got hurt,” Burry said, referring to short-selling hedge funds such as Melvin Capital losing money during the meme-stock boom in January.
“But if retail is moving toward more trading and away from fundamentals, WS owns that game,” he continued. “#Stonks by design.”
In other words, Burry’s view is that the new generation of cheap, fun, and easy-to-use trading platforms are helping Wall Street instead of upending it. Specifically, they send order flows to the likes of Citadel Securities and push people into day trading instead of long-term investing, playing to the strengths of professional operations.
Burry singled out Robinhood in a tweet last week, sharing screenshots from the app to argue it turns investing into a casino game.
“If this looks like a serious investing app to you, and NOT a dangerous casino ‘fun for all ages,’ you’ve been #gamified,” he said.
“We designed Robinhood to be mobile-first and intuitive, with the goal of making investing feel more familiar and less daunting for an entire generation of people previously cut out of the financial system,” a Robinhood spokesperson said in a statement to Insider.
“Our focus has always been on breaking down systemic barriers to investing to help more people take control of their finances.”
Burry’s comments may carry extra weight, as he’s most likely been a major beneficiary of the retail-investing boom. Scion owned 1.7 million GameStop shares at the end of September, which it could have sold for more than $250 million during the buying frenzy last month.