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Robinhood’s IPO to Test Loyalty of Retail Trading Legion it Helped Create

Robinhood Markets Inc. has spent the better part of a decade trying to entice nonprofessional investors to fall in love with markets.

This week, the company will face its first public test of whether those same traders love Robinhood back.

The wildly popular trading platform’s initial public offering is expected to price Wednesday night and begin trading Thursday in one of the most highly anticipated deals of the year. In an unusual move, Robinhood, which boasts 22.5 million users with funded accounts, is expected to sell its users up to 35% of its IPO shares, or up to 18.3 million shares.

The move is part of Robinhood’s self-described mission to democratize investing for all, a philosophy that it reinforced Saturday by hosting a live-streamed roadshow presentation for individual investors. Yet despite having more access than is typical of such trading events, many individual investors are still saying: No thanks.

Across social-media platforms like Reddit, Twitter and Discord lately, talk of Robinhood’s IPO has heated up, with many individual investors encouraging their peers to avoid it. For some, the decision is a revenge play after the brokerage stopped users from buying meme stocks like GameStop Corp. during the height of the frenzy this year.

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