One of Visa’s top executives is leaving the giant payout for a brokerage tech startup, CNBC has learned.
Terry Angelos, global head of fintech and crypto at Visa, will take over as managing director of start-up DriveWealth next week. Angelos joined Visa seven years ago as part of its acquisition of TrialPay, which he founded and led as CEO.
DriveWealth enables consumer finance apps such as Block’s Cash App and Revolut to offer stock trading by providing the necessary behind-the-scenes infrastructure. The Jersey City-based broker was one of the first to allow split investing, or buying stocks in small amounts compared to full stocks.
As retail thrives during the pandemic, Angelos said the long-term opportunity is the internationalization of U.S. equities. He estimates that approximately one billion people worldwide, outside of China, access financial services from a digital wallet or fintech app and seek exposure to blue-chip equities.
“If you think about the most reliable long-term assets that people around the world want to own, these are stocks of American companies,” Angelos said. “Traditionally, people outside the United States haven’t been able to open a brokerage account. It’s something we think we can help resolve.”
Corporate America was less of a safe haven this week, with the Dow Jones hitting its lowest level in the year on Monday. However, over the past six decades, U.S. stocks have posted annual returns of approximately 10%.
DriveWealth was last valued at $ 3.7 billion and was supported by Softbank, the venture capital arm of Fidelity and Citi Ventures, among others, according to Pitchbook. The company operates as a licensed broker, providing clearing and settlement on behalf of its fintech clients, managing the customer experience and applications.
DriveWealth also provides custody of individual accounts and stock. To connect to these applications, it uses software known as an API or Application Programming Interface. The company said it has doubled its customer base year-over-year, with 140% growth among its international partners. Starting with stocks, DriveWealth also offers crypto investment infrastructure.
Individual investor activity has slowed sharply from its 2021 high during the GameStop turmoil. The retail participation rate, measured in retail volume as a percentage of total transaction volume, has recently fallen to its lowest level since the pandemic began, according to Rich Repetto, managing director and principal research analyst at Piper Sandler.
The pullback hurt on the part of Robinhood, which recently said it was cutting 9% of its workers after increasing hiring to meet demand, and other brokerages sold to the public.
However, Angelos said DriveWealth has seen higher account participation and growth in the recent downturn, and stressed the long -term value of U.S. stocks.
“We are still in the growth cycle of making equities accessible to people who would otherwise have access to them and we will continue to see growth, even if there may be volatility or recession in those. more active traders, ”he said.
As for an initial public offer, Angelos said it is “possibly on the roadmap.” But for now, he says he’s focused on raising his footprint and returning to duty as chief executive after nearly a decade at Visa.