Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) and Goldman Sachs had been planning to co-develop a stock trading app similar to Robin Hood for iPhones, but the project has reportedly been abandoned, according to unnamed sources cited by CNBC on Wednesday. The feature would have allowed users to buy and sell stocks directly from their iPhones, potentially rivaling existing trading apps such as Robinhood (NASDAQ: HOOD ) and Cash App. However, the reasons behind the decision to shelve the project remain unclear.
The project reportedly began in 2020 during a period of historically low-interest rates and record interest in share trading, fueled by the meme stock bonanza. The initial rollout was scheduled for 2022. However, as market conditions worsened last year, Apple and Goldman Sachs decided to put the project on hold due to concerns over potential backlash if users lost money in the stock market. Instead, efforts were redirected towards Apple Savings, which offers high yields for users compared to traditional savings accounts.
Sources familiar with the matter revealed that the infrastructure for the project is "mostly built" and could be launched if Apple decides to proceed with the original plan. However, there are currently no signs that Apple has any immediate plans to do so.
The breakdown of the project may also be attributed to a potentially strained relationship between Apple and Goldman Sachs. The financial firm has reportedly been losing money from its management of Apple Card. Goldman Sachs helped launch the Apple Card in 2019 and spent approximately $350 per new customer acquisition. In 2022, it scaled back its efforts to transform its consumer savings business, Marcus, into a fully-fledged digital bank.
Executives of Goldman Sachs' Platform Solutions stated in January 2023 that its consumer division may break even by 2025, a target initially set for the end of 2022.
This news might come as a relief for app-based stock trading services like Robin Hood and Cash App's investing services, which have a large contingent of iPhone users and offer programs for low-dollar investments in fractions of a share of stock.
Apple and Goldman Sachs declined CNBC's request for comment on the matter.
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