5 trends we’re watching this week

weekly trends in fintech

Every week at Tradestreaming, we’re tracking and analyzing the top trends impacting the finance industry. The following is a list of important things going on we think are worth paying attention to. For more in depth trendfollowing, subscribe to Tradestreaming’s weekly newsletter (published every Sunday).

1. What’s Goldman Sachs doing in online consumer lending? (Tradestreaming)
Tradestreaming Tearsheet: Watching fintech startups gain traction in lending and investing products, incumbent financial services giants like Goldman Sachs and Blackstone have decided to compete with the startups. Goldman Sachs has quietly been putting together a rather formidable offering in consumer lending. What’s the firm up to?

2. Financial Engines’ acquisition of The Mutual Fund Store a turning point in robo debate (InvestmentNews)
Tradestreaming Tearsheet: There’s ongoing discussion on whether online advisors can weather the client storm long term without real humans helping their clients. This deal is proof positive that online advice platforms may need human advisers to offer a full menu of financial planning services.

3. Bank of America working on own robo-advisor (Fortune)
Tradestreaming Tearsheet: Bank of America is joining the ever-increasing club of robo-advisors by building its own automated investment platform. Why partner with a robo-advisor like Betterment when you can just build one yourself and bring in billions a la Schwab?

4. Citi Creates Division Dedicated to Fintech (paymentweek)
Tradestreaming Tearsheet: Traditional banks are feeling pressured by all the new activity in lending/investing online (even if the startups are tiny relatively). New York banking giant Citi announced late last month that it would create a new division solely dedicated to financial technology.

5. The New Source of Innovation in Advisory Firms (ThinkAdvisor)
Tradestreaming Tearsheet: It’s getting harder and harder to grow an advisory firm. Here’s a hint: to succeed, it can’t just be the firm owner’s job.. Here are 7 steps to encourage employee engagement to get everyone in on the growth game. Growing an advisory business is definitely a team sport.

Bringing investment services online – with Personal Capital’s Rob Foregger

the future of the bank branch

Delivering investment advisory services solely through the online channel is a game changer.  But getting it right has eluded even the biggest of investment managers.

Fresh after a big funding round, Rob Foregger’s Personal Capital aims to be a dominant player in online finance. Rob’s got over 20 years experience in direct-to-consumer finance that he’s bringing to the table with the rest of Personal Capital’s A-team management.

Join Rob and me as we discuss the genesis of Personal Capital, how the online advisor intends to scale, and the future of online investing.

Continue reading “Bringing investment services online – with Personal Capital’s Rob Foregger”

Launch your fund with the help of your friends (and $$ off)

Cale Smith is a long time Tradestreaming supporter as we are of him and his efforts.

He’s a money manager and growing a movement, SpokeFund, to assist others in getting their ideas and businesses off the ground.

It’s an interesting bootstrapping model — one that aligns the small business owner/asset manager and investor — and one we spent considerable time understanding and learning about in one of Tradestreaming’s live events.  (See the presentation deck From the Ground Up: Building a Successful Money Management Business.)

Think of Spoke Fund as Lean Startup for investment businesses.

Now for the good part…

Continue reading “Launch your fund with the help of your friends (and $$ off)”

How to produce a financial podcast

One of the most popular pages on Tradestreaming is our Best Investing Podcasts page. When I encounter a valuable resource, I continue to add it to that page.  Slowly, I’m beginning to see more and more financial professionals producing their own podcasts.  That’s awesome — for those of you contemplating how to create a financial podcast, I put together a how-to piece to help. Continue reading “How to produce a financial podcast”

[Free Webinar]: From the ground up: Building a better money management business

This event was already held. Check out this event’s presentation, Building an investment advisory business from the ground up.

From the ground up: How to build a successful money management firm

Join us for a Webinar on May 16
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/545041518
Is your investment practice what you want it to be? 

Many professional investors have changed their business models over the past few years.  Wirehouse brokers are breaking out and going independent. Many are choosing to start or join existing RIAs.  Many others are creating their own hedge funds.

Everyone is looking for the right business model, the right structure for their investment business.

Cale Smith, founder of Islamorada Investment Management, believes he’s built a better investment business mousetrap.

Called Spoke Funds®, these structures solve some of the problems associated with mutual funds (underperformance, tax inefficiency) and hedge funds (compensation schemes masquerading as an asset class).

The Spoke Fund® structure aligns incentives by ensuring the investment manager invests most of his liquid net worth in the same portfolio he’s selling to investors.

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • why the existing vehicles for your business (mutual/hedge funds) are broken
  • How Spoke Funds solve these problems
  • Why Spoke Funds are perfect for managers who are value investors
  • How they lower start-up costs and get into business faster
  • How their transparency is attracting a new class of investor

Please join Zack Miller of Tradestreaming.com and Cale Smith of Islamorada Investment Management for a frank and open chat about the future of the investment management business.

Title: From the ground up: How to build a successful money management firm
Date: Monday, May 16, 2011
Time: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM EDT
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.4.11 (Tiger®) or newer

 

Looking for investment advisors interested in building their practices

Can’t beat awesome free resources

I’m testing a new weekly email (called the AdvisorInsider) full of tips, tools and resources to help you build your highly profitable business .

Based on my writings here, my book and my consulting business, I think I have a lot to share with investment/financial advisors looking to better harness the web, technology, and techniques that are becoming best practice in the financial services industry.

I’ll eventually charge for this but I’m looking for 100 investment pros to trial this for free.

All I want back is a little feedback.

What to expect from me

I’ll email you insightful emails 1x week full of tools worth way more than the cost of this email.  I’ll share with you some of the techniques, tools and technologies many of the largest and most successful investment professionals are using to boost their businesses.

If you email me at zack.miller at gmail.com I’ll add you to this list.  It’s going to be awesome.

 

 

New investment managers added to Wealthfront

Wealthfront announced the addition of 3 new investment advisors on their investment platform.

As per the firm:

Towle & Co. (Value Strategy | Min. Outside Wealthfront: $500,000)
Towle specializes in a long-term, deep-value investment strategy that seeks to uncover significant discrepancies between stock market prices and underlying company values. Through Towle, you can invest in well-run companies with strong market positions and low price-to-sales ratios: a way to buy operating leverage and economic activity on the cheap!
Barton Investment Management (Growth Strategy | Min. Outside Wealthfront: $1,000,000)
Barton believes the market fails to appreciate and correctly value the full potential of enterprises that create new markets. Its concentrated portfolio of carefully-selected younger growth company stocks allows investors to capitalize on these market inefficiencies while supporting innovation.
CWC Advisors (Small Cap Strategy | Min. Outside Wealthfront: $1,000,000)
CWC began providing investment services in 2000 to high net worth individuals, and within a few years, attracted the interest of institutional investors. Its strategy consists primarily of contrarian U.S. companies with recent price under performance, corporate liquidity and/or fundamental valuations at historically low levels. Now you can invest with CWC, too.

Future of the (Financial Advisory) Profession

Worth checking out a very interesting report from Bob Veres, financial industry analyst, entitled “Future of the Profession.”

bridgeAt over 100 pages, it’s a really in-depth look at the confluence of trends affecting the industry (brokers, financial planners and RIAs) and a critical look at where Veres thinks the market, business, and profession are headed.

The advisory firm of the future is undergoing a metamorphosis unlike anything that has been experienced in the 40-year history of the profession. This is not surprising, for there are more drivers and trends buffeting the financial services world than ever before: the aging and impending transition issues facing the founding generation of advisors; the market meltdown and business crisis faced by the profession; the advent of new software tools and an emerging dynamic that favors the development of a closer relationship between
custodians/broker-dealers and RIA firms; the democratization of practice management advice and information; the emergence and widespread adoption of new client services; the emergence of viable business models to address middle-market clients; the market trauma leading to a reexamination of how portfolios are created and tended.

Veres’s core thesis is:

  • not a narrow window of opportunity: there is a big opportunity for investment advisors to grow their businesses in the sea-change.
  • evolving from practice to business: practice management becomes more core as advisors focus more on profits and roll-up of advisory practices gains steam.
  • old models going away: Old-school brokerage business is in steep, terminal decline. Fiduciary is the future. This means that mid-market, less wealthy clients can seek service and receive it.
  • technology-enabled new business models: Technology is helping close the distance between custodians/broker-dealers and investment advisory firms as well as creating new business opportunities on different client sets.

All these trends seem to mutually enforce one another and there was a lot of thought and energy put into the report. Check it out.

Thanks Marie Swift. Check out her audio interview with Veres, as well, on the paper’s take-aways.

10 predictions in online finance for 2010

I’ve been thinking about what the future has in store for investors and I’d like 2010to use this post to help clarify my thinking.   Essentially, I’d like to hone in on what 2010 portends for online finance.  I’m looking for some broader trends, as well as some company-specific prognostication.

  1. AOL’s ascension, Yahoo Finance’s continued domination, Google Finance tweaks:  Now that AOL has fully cut the cord from Time Warner after opening up the portal, it’s got to fend for itself.  AOL Money’s new incarnation is DailyFinance, a formidable offering worthy of investor eyeballs.  DailyFinance is the crux around which AOL has woven its numerous niche sites, like financial blogging site BloggingStocks and personal finance site, WalletPop.  Look to AOL to get its ship in order and move up the traffic charts.  Yahoo Finance, barring a sale of the tech firm, will continue to dominate, without really any changes to the platform.  They’re pretty much on cruise control but will still get the vast majority of financial traffic.  Google Finance will still suffer from lack of attention but the search firm will turn its sites on generating traffic to the fledgling site given the fact that CPMs are high in the financial vertical.
  2. Consolidation in the brokerage industry: While many of the old-school online brokers (what a weird expression) are still wary of the changes social media has ushered in to online finance, a couple of the startups in the field (Zecco, TradeKing, TradeMonster) understand it very well.  I think you’ll see the big boys make a small tuck-in acquisition of one or two of these players and continue to run them under their own brand.  An acquisition would be  a relatively inexpensive laboratory for the big brokers to begin to get a feel for the second generation online trading environments.
  3. Small RIAs begin to adopt expert communities in greater numbers: Covestor and kaChing offer asset managers an alternative distribution mechanism to bring in assets.  Through a transparent trading platform and encouraged blogging, expert communities provide a business model to the financial blogosphere as participants get paid by investors to mirror their trading activity in their own brokerage accounts.
  4. Howard Lindzon does it again: StockTwits gets an offer for $25 howard_stocktwitsmillion — I’m not convinced he accepts it or where the offer comes from, but his winning streak continues.
  5. SeekingAlpha raises another round of financing: On top of the round they just raised, the financial content aggregator will go to the till to raise more funds as profitability remains somewhat elusive and management gets aggressive about growth.
  6. Reuters buys Wikinvest: Reuters understands branded content (a wikinvestla Felix Salmon and recent purchase of Breaking Views) but also understands the power of social media.  Wikinvest would be an interesting addition to the recent rollout of sweet, new Reuters.com.
  7. Jim Cramer and TheStreet.com left with few options: TheStreet.com sees revenues decrease and isn’t able to find a buyer or strategic investor.  Their blend of freemium content doesn’t resonate well with the public and they continue to struggle to find footing.  While current columnists won’t see the whupping that Dykstra took this year, the firm prepares for bankruptcy in 2011.
  8. Bloomberg, Bloomberg, Bloomberg: Bloomberg fires on all cylinders.  As it continues to own the institutional space, with BusinessWeek in tow, Bloomberg gets serious about retail financial/business content.  They hire more than 5 people to run Bloomberg.com and they make other smart, strategic acquisitions to pimp out their portfolio of properties.  For a firm that gets so little of online finance traffic (I think last numbers were less than 5% of online finance traffic), they have a long runway ahead of them.
  9. James Altucher becomes  the man: Blending smarts with a good altucher_dailyfinance_blogwatchsense of humor, Altucher is on his way to ubiquity with great positioning in the WSJ, RealMoney, and AOL’s DailyFinance. Look to see more of Altucher’s market commentary and stock picks.  By the end of 2010, Altucher will launch his own mutual fund as he goes retail.
  10. Maria Bartiromo and Tiger Woods: 2010 will reveal that the queen of CNBC will have traveled with Tiger on his private jet numerous times with no chaperon.  Well, not really.  But who hasn’t been with Tiger…

Wishing everyone a great holiday season and a prosperous 2010.  It can only get better from here (I hope).