Have you wanted to test an investing strategy but lack the tools and programming knowledge to sufficiently see if it works?
QuantBlocks was designed for you — build and test trading strategies without programming knowledge. It’s drag-and-drop simple. Founder Rob Johnson joins Tradestreaming Radio to discuss how QuantBlocks scratched his own personal itch and how investors of all types use his technology to beat the market.
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Continue reading “Build trading strategies without the need to code – with Rob Johnson”
Many investors know intuitively that making investment research more social SHOULD lead to better outcomes.
The truth is, we’re just beginning to figure out how social media can impact investment performance…and a new firm, SprinkleBit is going to help forward this conversation in a major way.
SprinkleBit is rolling out a full-suite of research and trading tools, all centered around the social aspect of investment research. Founder and CEO Alexander Wallin joins us to talk about social investing, how to empower investors to make better decisions, and his product roadmap to roll-out social enabled trading.
Listen to the FULL episode
Alexander Wallin is the co-founder and CEO of SprinkleBit.
Continue reading “Using social and crowdsourcing to make better investment decisions – with Alexander Wallin”
The investing landscape has changed tremendously over the past few years — mostly in ways that directly benefit individual investors.
- Transparency is increasing
- Fees are decreasing
- Brokers are being phased out in favor of Registered Investment Advisors
- Assets are moving from expensive, actively managed mutual funds to low cost, passively managed exchange traded funds (ETFs)
It’s this last piece that is going to serve as the focal point for this post. In fact, assets invested in U.S. ETFs just exceeded $1 trillion.
ETFs growing like weeds, investors struggle to keep up
If ETFs have evolutionized (it’s not really a revolution) our investment choices, information and commentary on how to use ETFs haven’t quite kept pace. Investors struggle to understand exactly what an ETF’s strategy is and how it’s managed.
Heck, professionals are drowning in trying to make sense of all the new ETF offerings.
A new platform, called Motif Investing, may be changing all this…
Continue reading “Beginner’s Guide to Motif Investing”
As much as we talk about the advances in investing technologies/platforms on Tradestreaming, personal finance tools are really kicking it.
One of the most popular is HelloWallet. Like the model that its predecessor Mint.com pioneered, HelloWallet is meant to not only track and manage personal spending/budgets, but optimize them as well.
Visualizing your financial life
If you’re like me, you’re a visual person. One of the hardest things to tackle with personal finance is to really understand all the ins-and-outs, money-in/money-out.
Our lives are complex. Spending on individual items needs to be put into the larger context of everything going on in our financial lives.
HelloWallet does a powerful job representing data with useable visuals and the entire service is centered around goals, the guideposts that help determine what we should — and shouldn’t — be doing financially.
After hooking up your bank account and credit cards and filling out simple budgetary items, HelloWallet begins spitting out personalized daily guidance. These zen-like tips are comprised of ways to address lowering spending, reorganizing debt, saving more, etc.
Social benchmarking and conflict-free
HelloWallet also provides social benchmarking by explaining what others in your social/geographic group spend on particular items so you can tell whether you’re overspending or not.
One of the gripes people have with Mint is that its revenue model is to refer its users to 3rd party sites and receive remuneration for any money spent on that new relationship.
HelloWallet doesn’t do that and makes a point of emphasizing that it’s conflict-free. The app comes with a free, no-credit-card-needed 30 day trial. It’s generally $8.95 per month.
Check out HelloWallet.
What it does: Betterment has one of the easiest-to-use, slickest interfaces to manage a balanced portfolio for long-term investors. Fund your account (you can automate this) and dial in your preferred risk mix and Betterment chooses a basket of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for your portfolio in accordance to Modern Portfolio Theory. You don’t ever need to decide on what to buy if that’s not your thing.
Particular strengths: For investors who don’t want to be overwhelmed with investing decisions or jargon about individual securities, Betterment has done a really effective job removing the confusing part by getting investors to focus on what really matters: setting goals, focusing on time-frame, and risk.
How popular is it: As of November 2011, Betterment reported that it had 10,000 accounts and $36 million under management.
Management: Betterment was founded by Jonathan Stein, an experienced professional on the technology side of the financial industry.
Company Size: Betterment has 10 employees (Source)
Outside Investors: Bessemer Venture Partners led an investment round of $3 million at the end of 2010.
Competitors: As an online investment advisor, Betterment competes with Personal Capital and Wealthfront.
I have to admit: investing in peer to peer loans didn’t initially appeal to me.
I thought it would be hard to assess the risk in lending to individuals — after all, that’s what banks get paid the big bucks for, right?
But 5 years after Lending Club first launched its website, the firm has pioneered a whole industry, not just to say a new asset class. There have been over $1B in p2p loans underwritten and investors like me are now using p2p loans as a core holding in the fixed income part of their portfolios.
Founder Renaud Laplanche joins me on Tradestreaming Radio to talk about how the p2p loan industry cures some major inefficiencies in the market for capital, does a better job sizing up and personalizing risk, and how his firm and industry might just eat the banking system’s future lunch.
Listen to the FULL episode
In investing, earnings drive stock prices. The thing is, though, for many higher growth firms, it’s really hard to determine just how likely a firm is to hit its stated targets.
An earnings miss — or even a hint of one – can be disastrous to share prices.
So, investors spend a lot of time listening to this analyst and that pundit explain his expectations for earnings.
The truth is, very few of these guys get it right.
A better way to get earnings estimates: crowdsource ’em
Most of the time we use analyst consensus earnings — an average of all the different Wall Street opinions.
The problem with using an average is that earnings estimates on certain stocks diverge pretty significantly and taking the average isn’t an entirely accurate way of trying to gauge earnings.
There are a couple of ways to do this better/smarter right now.
Continue reading “Dueling investing apps: How to best forecast earnings”
In a world without guaranteed pensions, responsibility for retirement planning falls on investors’ (not-wide-enough) shoulders.
Thankfully, the 401(k) account is a great way to save for retirement by delaying taxes and encouraging company matching programs (yep, that’s free money).
But, while investors have seen the options of what they can invest in improve over the past decade, it’s still somewhat hard to get professional advice for 401(k)s because your typical financial advisor doesn’t get paid for doing so (he can’t custody the assets and therefore, isn’t interested in helping).
So, where do you turn when you want more guidance on your assets in your 401(k)?
That’s where Kivalia comes in.
Continue reading “Review: Get professional advice for your 401k from Kivalia”
Kudos to Tadas (like how that sounds) at Abnormal Returns for his recent blogging and book about what’s know as the low volatility anomaly.
Simply, accepted theory is that higher volatility stocks (ie riskier) should perform better than lower volatility ones over time. You know, the old risk-return tradeoff.
The thing is that in practice, they don’t.
There’s been a growing body of research and interest into this phenomenon and I thought it would be worthwhile to make some order out of this.
The investor’s guide to the low volatility anomaly
Much of the interest into this curious fact has stemmed from academic research.
Academic Research on the low volatility anomaly
Reporting on the low risk volatility anomaly
Morningstar: When less risk equals more reward
Low volatility investment products
- Russell Developed ex US Low Volatility ETF ($XLVO)
- iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility ETF ($USMV)
- PowerShares S&P Low Volatility Portfolio ($SPLV)
- Russell 1000 Low Volatility ($LVOL)
- Russell 2000 Low Volatility ($SLVY)
- iShares MSCI All Country World Minimum Volatility Index ($ACWV)
- Summit Global Investments Low Volatility Equity Fund ($SILVX)
What did I miss?