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Digital subscribers surpass print at Financial Times

Posted on October 9, 2013 at 2:33 pm

I remember during the Internet bubble, the financial media would look to bellweather stocks, like Cisco, to represent how the stock market was moving.

The Financial Times (along with its stateside brother-from-another-mother, the Wall Street Journal) is a bellweather of financial media.

So, when the venerable FT reaches an inflection point where its digital subscribers surpasses those from print, I think it’s fair to extrapolate that out that — hey, we’re really there…

According to Paid Content:

“Work will shift from night to day, when people are actually online reading. “[The] 1970s-style newspaper publishing process — making incremental changes to multiple editions through the night — is dead,” Barber wrote. “In future, our print product will derive from the web offering — not vice versa.” Journalists will “publish stories to meet peak viewing times on the web rather than old print deadlines.”

Though it may have taken longer for finance to embrace digital (from a media consumption point of view), when the FT has 100k more digital subs than print, it’s time to say we’ve arrived.

Extending this out further in the financial ecosystem

So, couple of thoughts about the move to digital.

  • I was early to the Finance 2.0 movement. Many of the next-generation finance companies I covered in my book are still around but they haven’t quite trampled the incumbent players. Are we reaching a point where we’re going to see more mass adoption of these tools like Motif Investing, Wealthfront, and Covestor?
  • Curation becomes as important as original content: Seeking Alpha has it right. In a digital age of investing, print is so late to the game. Curation becomes paramount as news moves faster and the trading-side of the investment game moves faster.
  • Do financial content and investing get closer to one another? Investment platforms understand that content is what brings new investors in the door (see the job Mick Weinstein is doing at Covestor), but I’m not convinced it makes them stay. Are we going to see that change?

What do you think of the news? Let me know in the comments.

BTW, if you’re interested in getting serious about publishing a finance book, check this out.

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  • Why I wouldn’t want to be a bank in this market

    Posted on May 19, 2014 at 9:00 am UTC

    Album_no_respectAs the late Rodney Dangerfield put it so eloquently, banks don’t get no respect in today’s market.

    It’s not that they haven’t tried. Post the 2007-2008 credit crisis, many of them have cleaned up their acts.

    But, it’s not just the fact that banks are now forces to lay in their own financial beds that has made bankers lives so tough of late.

    Banks face (new) tough competition

    It’s also about competition. Banks are being assailed on all fronts in a way they’ve never been threatened and I think the writing is one the wall: the core functions of banking are being challenged by a whole new generation of startup financial service providers that may eventually displace them. We’re in the early stages of sprinting a marathon to build the most influential finance companies.

    Today’s consumer lending: from the consumer to the consumer

    One of retail banking’s bread and butter business lines is a basic form of lending arbitrage. They take deposits from customers (paying out a low interest rate) and then lend it out to other customers (at a higher interest rate).

    But many individuals are borrowing outside traditional banking channels. Lending Club, the largest peer to peer lender, just surpassed $4 billion in small personal loans it’s underwritten on its platform. Borrowers on peer to peer lending platforms either couldn’t qualify for loans, got worse rates with banks or just would rather avoid the banking sector all together. Banks see the writing on the wall — Union Bank just announced it would team up with Lending Club to deploy its own capital into loans on Lending Club’s website. You can hear how far the company has come since my 2012 interview with Lending Club founder and CEO.

    Business loans: the next domino to fall

    Lending Club made it very clear as it gears up for its own multi-billion dollar IPO (expected this year) that it’s interested in getting into business loans. It’s here, in the commercial loan business, that banks are facing their fiercest rivals right now.

    • Long term loans: Newly-minted companies like Funding Circle has already lent out hundreds of millions of dollars to business looking to borrow money for years at a time. The demand for these types of loans from non-banking sources is huge.
    • Short term loans: Businesses looking for shorter term loans and access to working capital are turning more and more to companies like OnDeck. Armed with new credit models, these firms can frequently be more quick and nimble, approving loans in minutes (versus days and weeks at traditional lenders).
    • Specialty loans: Perhaps the most interesting entrants into the online lending market are the specialty ecommerce and payment platforms. Amazon is hiring boatloads of people to staff up its new lending division. Paypal is doing the same with its new Working Capital loans for small businesses that use the payment platform. These companies are perfectly situated in their customers’ business to a) determine creditworthiness and b) to provide them with a loan. And student loans? Forget about it — there are startups like Pave (hear my recent interview with Pave’s co-founder) trying to create more efficient (and cheaper) ways to finance higher education.

    Look for more innovative online lending models to proliferate in the next few years like the kind that Zazma employs. A startup that’s received investments from top venture capital firms, Zazma provides trade financing to small businesses. Need to stock up on some inventory before the holiday season? Zazma will pay your supplier for the goods and work with you on payback — all almost instantly online. Low friction like credit cards and quick access to working capital.

    Today’s “no respect” for the banking sector is so much more than just the product of the recent credit crisis. Smart, well-funded startups are beginning to chip away at banks’ core value to the economy and consumers (both retail and business) seem to happier with their new-found options.

    What do you think about the changes in the lending market? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

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  • Investing in students — with Pave’s Oren Bass

    Posted on May 18, 2014 at 12:07 pm UTC

    What do you get when you put the college debt problem together with crowdfunding?

    An entirely new investable asset, that’s what.

    Oren Bass, co-founder of Pave.com, joins be to talk about how crowdfunding has created an entirely new type of investment: people. Instead of shouldering hundreds of thousands of dollars of student debt early in their career, some forward-looking students have turned to Pave to raise money via a human-capital contract.

    It’s this contract investors can invest in, providing them with a socially-responsible activity along with a return on their money.

    This isn’t passive indexing. Let’s dive in and learn more.

    About Oren Bass

    co founder of Pave, Oren BassOren is the co-founder of Pave and previously worked in structured finance for Goldman Sachs.

    Listen to the Full interview

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    Visit our Sponsor

    OurCrowd is a better way to invest in startups. Identify and invest in the next Facebook, Google, and Apple on OurCrowd’s investment platform of vetted and diligence of startup investment opportunities. Check out OurCrowd.

    Do you have something to share? Let me know in the comments and subscribe below to be notified of new podcasts and articles.

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  • Investing in distressed mortgages — with Jorge Newbery

    Posted on May 11, 2014 at 10:00 am UTC

    The Internet is opening up all kinds of new investment opportunities that many of us didn’t have access to before.

    One way real estate investors have made lots of money over time was by investing in distressed mortgages. But for an individual to buy a single mortgage is pretty complicated, let alone risky.

    Jorge Newbery founded American Homeowner Preservation (AHP), a crowdfunding site for accredited investors to invest in pools of distressed mortgages earning between 9-12% per year — all with a focus on helping people stay in their houses longer.

    Jorge joins me on the Tradestreaming Podcast to discuss how investors should think about investing in distressed mortgages, the types of returns they should expect, and the growing popularity of this investment.

    About Jorge Newbery

    Jorge Newbery of American Homeowner PreservationJorge is the CEO and Founder of American Homeowner Preservation. He has been a principal in mortgage, property management and real estate brokerage firms

    Listen to the FULL episode

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    Do you have something to share? Let me know in the comments and subscribe below to be notified of new podcasts and articles.

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  • Stuck on publishing a book? Join us for the MEBINAR, Meb Faber talks publishing, books, and the investment field

    Posted on October 14, 2013 at 12:56 pm UTC

    Very excited to be hosting the MEBINAR — Mebane Faber joins me tomorrow for an intimate chat mebane faber, author of Ivy Portfolioabout his experiences with publishing investment books (the best selling, The Ivy Portfolio and new book, Shareholder Yield).

    Meb is a publishing powerhouse with a portfolio that includes one of the most downloaded whitepapers in history.

    What you’ll learn

    Specifically, I’ve asked Meb to share

    • how he conceived of his book and why the subject matter…MATTERS
    • his process in finding a publisher
    • tips on successfully marketing a finance book

    And, I want to know how Meb became a modern-day finance celebrity:-)

    Learn more and sign up for the MEBINAR here

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  • Update: Fintech M&A, circa 2013

    Posted on October 10, 2013 at 10:15 am UTC

    From Berkery Noyes, an independent iBank with some great industry data, comes an update on mergers and acquisition activity in the fintech space.

    Q3 2013 KEY TRENDS

    • Total transaction volume in Q3 2013 increased by 21 percent over Q2 2013, from 77 to 93.
    • Total transaction value in Q3 2013 rose by 55 percent over Q2 2013, from $5.5 billion to $8.5 billion.

    Q3 2013 KEY HIGHLIGHTS

    • Davis + Henderson’s acquisition of Harland Financial Solutions, a provider of software and services to fi nancial institutions, was the largest transaction in Q3 2013, with an acquisition price of $1.6 billion.
    • The industry’s most active acquirer year-to-date was Thomson Reuters with nine transactions. Five of these occurred in Q3 2013: BondDesk Group LLC, Bisk CPE and CPA Test Prep Division from Bisk Education, Inc., Omnesys Technologies, SigmaGen

    For more transactional information on fintech, check out MandASoft

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About Tradestreaming

Tradestreaming is a community of investors learning directly from experts. I’m Zack Miller, investor, entrepreneur, and founder of Tradestreaming.com and I literally wrote the book on how to invest in the age of Facebook and Twitter. Tradestreaming is the resource I’ve created to help me become a better investor.  I believe it will help you … Continue Reading