Future of Investing

How UK’s invstr reassured its multi-cultural international team after Brexit

  • invstr's Kerim Derhalli spoke to his international London-based team after Brexit prevailed.
  • The company's inclusive approach towards diversity is reflected in its social trading platform.
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How UK’s invstr reassured its multi-cultural international team after Brexit

One of the more pressing questions to emerge out of the June 2016 Brexit vote was what would happen to the EU citizens living in the UK once Brexit actually goes through.

investing EU nationals in UK after Brexit
Google search about EU nationals in UK after Brexit

Half a year later, that issue is far from being resolved. What is certain is the way that EU immigrants in the UK felt after Brexit narrowly beat Bremain: fearful, betrayed, angry, alienated, and hurt.

At invstr, a social trading platform based out of London, the potential for a widespread workplace panic session was particularly high. The company, which boasts users in 150 countries, manages the product from London, with product design, marketing, and qualitative analysis based there. The company also has a development team based in Istanbul, with designers in Serbia and Barcelona. Within the London office, the team is very diverse: half are female, one is Singaporean, one Anglo-Peruvian, one Anglo- Filipino, one Swedish-Indonesian, and one Chinese.

“I’ve always found that diverse groups way outperform non-diverse groups,” said Kerim Derhalli, invstr’s CEO. “I couldn’t conceive of running a business that only consisted of 35-55 white male Anglo-Saxons. That would be shocking.”

As a company, invstr wasn’t threatened by Brexit. After all, the company is catering to 150 countries, not just to the UK market. In fact, because the firm’s headquarters are based in London, a lot of its costs went down. “In dollar terms, being based in the UK just got a hell of a lot cheaper,” said Derhalli. And though he doesn’t think that Brexit will be as negative an event as people feared, the day after the vote Derhalli gathered the London office workers together.

I said, “This is a day you’re going to remember probably for the rest of your lives. It’s a big shock and it’s a shock to you personally. But, this is what you need to bear in mind: one, the UK has always been extremely welcoming to foreigners. You know, there aren’t any Britons left in Great Britain. We’re all Anglos and Saxons and Danes and Normans and Bangladeshis and Pakistanis and Indians and all the other mixes that we’ve had. Two: the UK’s always been very international, with the empire and even with trade. London is the biggest melting pot in the world. Don’t be concerned, because I don’t think any of that is going to change.”

This inclusive approach to The Other, anyone who doesn’t fall into the exclusive group of 35-55-year-old white male Anglo-Saxons, resonates throughout the app itself, which aims to democratize investing by opening it up to everyone. To that end, the company started out as a informational and educational platform, with a 5,000+ article archive, real-time data updates, group chat and community forms, and investment practice games. Now, invstr in the final stages of enabling actual trading on the app itself.

It was important to invstr that some of the 15 brokers that they’re in touch with in the States enable fractional share ownership. The idea is that through the app, “anyone can understand that investing is simple, understand that it’s affordable, in that I can become an investor with just $20,” explained Derhalli.

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