Case Studies 8 min

Going Global: How Stake is Opening Up Investment Markets

Global Coverage, Individual Customer Satisfaction

Since its inception, Stake has been true to its mission of providing investors around the world with easy and secure access to international markets beyond their own borders, driven by real-time customer onboarding. This mission stems from a belief that investors should be able to diversify their investments across geographies and industries. Being a global leader in identity verification, Trulioo was the right match to help Stake expand across borders with security, speed and accuracy.

In particular, Stake set out to provide access to the U.S. market, by far the largest stock market in the world. Successfully opening the U.S. market to investors in Australia and other markets, such as the United Kingdom, was key to Stake’s growth strategy.

At the same time, one of the founding principles of the company was to address three major legacy issues within the investment industry for customers: paper forms, excessive fees and poor execution. Stake needed to undertake appropriate Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer procedures for every customer and provide the appropriate level of security, without compromising on service. This due diligence needed to be done with a global partner — a company that had the scale, expertise and ability to deliver identity verification to such a vast market.

With the aim to go global from the start, Stake needed an identity verification partner that could help it to verify people around the globe, not just Australian citizens. The Stake team needed identity verification that provided breadth and scale, but was also flexible to meet changing demands in what is a highly dynamic and constantly changing sector of the economy.

“We offer an unlimited commission-free based service, so we started testing the waters over here in Australia, but our goal has been to go global and work with global partners as much as we can — for example, global brokers and foreign exchange providers, and that includes our identity verification partner too.”

Why Stake Chose Trulioo

After a thorough deliberation process, Stake chose Trulioo as the identity verification solution that had the breadth and scale needed to fulfill their criteria.

The partnership is still active, with the Trulioo solution deployed to undertake verification checks when onboarding new customers in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

“We needed a seamless onboarding process. One that not only addresses the regulatory requirement, but that also makes the process between sign-up and trading rapid and simple. We were also looking for a partner that has a global footprint, that is able to scale with us as we grow — there was only one option, and that was Trulioo.”

A determining factor for Stake choosing Trulioo was because of its global coverage. The Trulioo identity verification platform provides secure access to over 450 trusted data sources worldwide, so businesses can verify more than 5 billion people and 700 million business entities in real-time. Trulioo enables Stake’s customers to be onboarded and instantly verified, and in turn they can deposit funds via the app and start trading in the U.S. stock market on the same day.

We needed a seamless onboarding process … We were also looking for a partner that has a global footprint, that is able to scale with us as we grow — there was only one option, and that was Trulioo.
Dan Silver, COO of Stake
Inspire your followers and tweet this.

“When a customer signs up, we typically capture a large amount of information, so we can create a U.S. brokerage account for them immediately. Of course, this is checked against the kind of information we need to collect, which varies from country to country,” Silver said.

When customers are onboarding into the Stake platform, Trulioo allows Stake to run independent checks in a way that is secure, fast and simple, while preventing fraud and ensuring compliance. This all helps to build trust and confidence among its customer base.

Stake measures and tracks a sample of automatic verifications for each country, particularly registration rates and fund conversion rates. The company has set a 70–75% internal requirement for their registration pass rate, and they benchmark that against Trulioo. Having visibility of this data in real-time is critical as
it informs how and what actions Stake needs to take in order to convert customers. For example, they can offer people free stock if they fund their account within 24 hours.

“Key for us is being digital from the get-go. Managing conversion from registration to funding is a major business KPI as it supports the “cost per funded customer” metric — the lifeblood of our operation.”

How Trulioo Helps Stake

When measuring the business impact of ID verification at onboarding, Stake sees a direct correlation between smooth and rapid onboarding, real-time KYC identity verification checks, and the likelihood that a customer will deposit funds into their account.

“When optimal onboarding is achieved, with real-time identity verification, customers are almost 250% more likely to deposit funds into their Stake account. That’s why we see identity verification as absolutely critical to our business.”

Stake measures the success of its identity verification processes based on the percentage of accounts that are created through a single attempt. The ideal is for every new customer to be able to go through the onboarding process without being rejected due to KYC checks.

In an effort to achieve this ideal, Stake has taken steps to improve the user experience during the account creation process, adding a priming screen to give more details about the onboarding process and the information customers will need to provide. They have also divided the process into three simple phases, so people have visibility of where they are in the process, and added a digital document upload function in order to make it easier and faster to submit identity documents.

“Our customers want to know that we are regulated and fully compliant within their market. Whilst they want a smooth onboarding process, people also want the reassurance and confidence that we are taking their security seriously. We have to establish the feeling of legitimacy around our brand as a brokerage before we can expect people to deposit their money. That’s the balance that we look to achieve.”

Meeting Spikes in Demand

During the first half of 2020, barely three years after its launch, Stake saw a significant surge in demand and usage for its platform. The number of new customers creating accounts more than doubled between January and April. This surge was partly due to the ongoing momentum and growth the brand was achieving since the middle of 2019, on the back of heightened brand awareness in each of its key markets.

Interestingly, it was a challenging and uncertain time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And yet, the platform became further active with investors looking to protect their funds and take advantage of new opportunities in other markets. With the technology sector performing relatively well during the crisis, Stake saw increased interest in stocks for technology giants such as Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and Tesla, which were already among the most traded stocks on the platform.

Alongside this technology interest, traders had also become acutely aware of the dramatic market fluctuations throughout the COVID-19 crisis and looked to exploit big changes in stock prices. Stake’s highly sophisticated customer base has since been extremely responsive to these market dynamics.

Trulioo has been able to meet and support this spike in demand for identity verification checks as part of a smooth and secure customer onboarding process. With efforts to keep customer satisfaction high in the face of increased demand, the team at Stake has been focused on maintaining the stability of the platform (to avoid any outages) while also ensuring that operational processes are watertight.

Looking Ahead: New Opportunities in New Markets, Underpinned by Robust, Real-Time Identity Verification

While Stake sees significant opportunities for further growth in each of its operational markets, it has ambitious plans to expand its reach to new territories and into new investment opportunities.

Central to this growth strategy is the company’s continued ability to onboard customers in a safe and speedy manner. This combines world-class customer experience with robust security and identity verification to protect its customers and ensure compliance with regulations in every market. As such, Stake has no doubt that Trulioo will continue to support and accelerate its move into new markets.

About Stake

Stake is an Australian-based investment platform that challenges traditional banks and brokers on investing costs and user experience. Co-founded by Matt Leibowitz and Dan Silver, the company was built with the aim to give savvy Australian investors an opportunity to invest directly in some of the world’s largest companies through a secure yet sophisticated digital platform, without having to pay the significant international fees charged by the big banks and through other brokers. Stake currently operates in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and the UK, with over 100,000 people active on the platform.

The platform is particularly popular among younger investors, with 83% of its active customers aged 44 and under. This next generation of investors is highly knowledgeable about technology and digital services, and they have high expectations around digital customer experiences and online security. Stake customers want a reliable, regulated and reputable partner for their trading; however, they don’t want the need for security and fraud to add complexity or delays to their use of the platform.