Not everyone wants a roboadvisor.
StockTwits announced today that it is acquiring investment research and discovery platform, SparkFin. Active investors use SparkFin’s website and app to build, follow, and share all kinds of curated lists of stocks. The new acquisition gives StockTwits users more opportunities to engage with markets and investing, and new ways to think about their portfolios – or even figure out how to create one.
“We have seen tremendous growth since our launch,” said Jason Pang, CEO of SparkFin, which launched in 2015. “Would-be investors who use SparkFin lists to get a jumpstart on selecting a portfolio will have a wider community to interact with at StockTwits, and sophisticated investors can generate new ideas based on the data we create.”
Details of the transaction weren’t disclosed.
Passive investment products attract a big chunk of new assets. In 2016, passive investing accounted for approximately 40 percent of all institutional money in the U.S. stock market, according to Morningstar. That’s double the share passive products, like ETFs and index funds, had in 2005. The rising popularity of incumbent-owned roboadvisors, like Schwab and Vanguard offer, speak to passive investing’s growth.
But, there’s a growing number of investors who want to get more hands-on with their finances and investment activities. They’re joining communities like StockTwits to learn and interact with peers. StockTwits’ growth attests to this trend: its community shares over 200 messages and investment ideas every minute and 6000 charts each day. The company claims its userbase grew over 50 percent last year.
“Both experienced and novice investors alike are looking for ways to use technology and their peers to make the process easier or more effective, and to come up with new ideas or validate ideas they have,” said Ian Rosen, StockTwits’ CEO. He joined StockTwits in 2016 after co-founding EVEN Financial and senior roles at MarketWatch and Dow Jones.
Even if performance data isn’t on their side, today’s investors want more say in directing where their money is invested. One such investor is valuation guru, NYU professor of finance, Aswath Damodaran. He sees more disruption coming in the active money management space, as passive strategies trump more active ones and squeeze profits out of the industry. Damodaran is still an unabashed stock picker, though.
“I have often described investing as an act of faith, faith in my capacity to value companies and faith that market prices will adjust to that value,” he wrote in a recent blog post. “I would like to believe that I have that faith, though it is constantly tested by adverse market movements.”
SparkFin offers a variety of different watchlists for its users. Some are built by editors around a particular investment theme while others are driven by quantitative criteria. The most popular investing list this month is “Where Millennials Spend their Money,” catering to younger investors and giving new investors investment ideas based on consumer habits.
Like other verticals, the investment industry is becoming more social and crowd-aware, which plays right to StockTwits’ sweet spot. A new generation of investors is looking for more information about investing and they’re using digital tools to help them discover ideas and organize what they find.
“StockTwits is lucky enough to manage the largest standalone, curated community of investors and traders so we are well positioned to add specific tools and experiences to make that community more productive,” said Rosen. “SparkFin is one of those tools.”