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Turning traditional money management on its head via tech (Future of investing)

Posted on August 16, 2010 at 1:30 pm

This post was originally included as part of an ebook that I published alongside the launch of my book, Tradestream, entitled “Tradestreaming and the Future of Investing”. The content was so good I wanted everyone to have access to it.

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With the recent rise of social networks and the growth in internet use the landscape for Investment Management is changing rapidly. Today over forty million internet users in the US have access to much the same tools, research and transaction costs as the ‘professionals’. With the loss of trust in institutions engendered by the recent financial crisis, the ‘deinstitutionalization’ of money management has only accelerated.

Sites like Covestor offer access to a form on money management only previously available to those with millions of dollars available to invest. If you have enough money to open an account today with a wealth management firm, they will open a ”separately managed account” (SMA) or a “unified managed account” (UMA) in your name. These are accounts where professional investment managers trade on your behalf in your own account, so you get the benefit of paying for expert management with the safety and security of a managed account.  Covestor offers this to any personal investor. But instead of the $500,000 minimum required to open a unified managed account, with just $10,000 you can access a world of great investors.

Technology and particularly the internet, stands to transform the industry. Much as it has in publishing, the barriers to entry have significantly lowered and the big names of the next wave look unlikely to be those of the last.  Technology is allowing an explosion in choice, transparency and access. In an industry where the incumbents have become so large from holding on to exclusivity and opaqueness, they will doubtless fight to maintain their position but as always in the end the value will flow through to consumers.

*—> Like what you see? Hey! Don’t forget to subscribe to the free Tradestreaming newsletter for updates, tips, and special offers

Perry Blacher is Co-Founder of Covestor and has over 10 years of experience in Strategy and Online Services.  He started his career at McKinsey & Co before heading up business development at Microsoft MSN in Europe and later as a principal with Cash Capital Partners.

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  • Crowdsourcing vs. Piggybacking: An ongoing debate

    Posted on September 12, 2010 at 10:32 am UTC

    Just returned from a mini-tour for Tradestreaming which ended with an editorial of mine appearing on CNNMoney.

    CNN’s editors thought the tension between investing alongside guru investors (what I call, piggybacking) and following the crowd (which devalues individual expertise) was worth exploring (in 800 words or less).  It was a great topic and one that I didn’t give enough verbiage to in the book.

    Part of this was laziness, part of it was in effort to keep the text short, and part of it was that crowdsourcing investment ideas is still really in its infancy.  While we can essentially clone hedge fund portfolios (with great tools like AlphaClone or great resources like MarketFolly), crowdsourcing tools are still finding their footing (I like Piqqem).

    Here’s the crux of the matter:

    So while it’s premature to say whether crowdsourcing can act as a standalone strategy, it may make sense for investors to tap the wisdom of the masses in addition to the other strategies they use to generate investment ideas.

    The Internet and social media are truly changing the way we acquire information, research investments, and manage our portfolios. The playing field is more level than it’s ever been, and that’s a good thing. Happy tradestreaming.

    You can read the whole article on CNNMoney , Follow the smart money — and the crowd

    Photo courtesy of futureshape

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  • 3 big opportunities for the real-time financial web (Future of investing)

    Posted on August 18, 2010 at 12:45 pm UTC

    This post was originally included as part of an ebook that I published alongside the launch of my book, Tradestream, entitled “Tradestreaming and the Future of Investing”. The content was so good I wanted everyone to have access to it.

    This one’s from David Jackson, founder and CEO of leading investment community, Seeking Alpha (and my old boss :-) )

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    With the growth of Twitter, the introduction of updates by Facebook and the inclusion of real-time comments in search results, it’s clear that the real-time Web is having a profound impact on media. Which raises the question: Will the real-time Web transform financial content?

    Financial media is naturally real-time because, in financial markets, faster delivery of information can mean real money. So it’s not surprising that a mature industry devoted to getting the most relevant financial news to people in real-time has already developed. Sophisticated real-time products are offered by providers of terminals, news wires, press releases and news organizations. They deliver news instantaneously, filtered according to users’ needs (for example by ticker symbol or industry). Real-time financial news has trickled down to free financial websites and portals, which themselves offer real-time financial news coverage.

    But this still leaves three opportunities for real-time updates in finance. The first is technical (chart) commentary for day traders. The most active Twitter users who write about stocks, for example, are day traders. Day trading isn’t Seeking Alpha’s focus (most day traders lose money, and our mission is to help people invest well), so we’re happy to leave short-term, real-time technical analysis to others.

    The second opportunity is real-time updates of fundamental analysis. Seeking Alpha’s contributors write in depth analysis of stocks. But their viewpoints can change as companies report quarterly financial results, competitors launch products, or the landscape changes in other ways. We think that short, real-time updates complement in-depth analysis, even for investors with a longer time horizon. We’re finding that an increasing number of our article authors use StockTalk, our “Twitter optimized for
    stocks” product.

    The third opportunity for the real time Web is mining Tweets and updates for information about companies’ businesses. Which products are gaining traction? Does a company have a PR catastrophe unfolding in real-time? It’s hard to do a good job of surfacing and filtering business information which is impactful enough to move stocks. If you know of anyone who does that, let me know. :-)

    *—> Like what you see? Hey! Don’t forget to subscribe to the free Tradestreaming newsletter for updates, tips, and special offers

    David Jackson is the founder and CEO of Seeking Alpha. He started his career as a macro-economist at HM Treasury in London and The Bank of Israel, and later moved to Morgan Stanley in New York as a technology research analyst covering the communications equipment sector.

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  • Tradestream book review (Reading the Markets)

    Posted on August 17, 2010 at 3:23 pm UTC

    Thanks to Brenda Jubin PhD on a very flattering review for Tradestreaming.

    Miller’s book is something of a travel guide for the investor. It’s written exceedingly well, as one expects of a travel guide. It explains an investor’s options: he can go on a guided tour, join a self-directed group, or strike out on his own. And it provides resources that the investor can tap into depending on which option he chooses.

    Jubin does a good job reviewing a prolific number of books with insight and depth of an actual investor/trader.  Check out her blog, Reading the Markets.

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  • Top 5 predictions for social media’s impact on investing (Future of investing)

    Posted on August 17, 2010 at 12:12 pm UTC

    This post was originally included as part of an ebook that I published alongside the launch of my book, Tradestream, entitled “Tradestreaming and the Future of Investing”. The content was so good I wanted everyone to have access to it.  This one’s from Darrell Heaps, co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Q4 Web Systems, a leading-edge provider of online investor relations solutions.

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    The social web now offers companies and individuals unprecedented capabilities to access information, research and collaboration on a global scale.  As we move forward, I believe we will continue to see adoption across companies, investors and traders of all shapes and sizes. Here are my top 5 predictions for the future.

    1.    The future is open, privacy is being redefined and the social graph of the web is going to continue to grow.  This won’t be in a straight line as there will be push back, however over time the world is becoming more and more open.

    2.    Shareholders will use the social web to influence proxy votes. Moxyvote.com is just the start at enabling the retail shareholder vote. Companies will need to use the same channels and tools to influence their shareholders to vote how they want.  Obama’s use of social media in the 2008 US election is the model that all politicians must follow now – this same model is coming to proxy votes in the near future.

    3.    Traders and Investors will create and use social networks for real-time research and investing. These trading/investing networks will become a key element that drives the market. Companies that accept this trend and work to become influencers inside of these channels will benefit the most.

    4.    Companies will use the social web to influence the perception of their company in the market.  Early adopters are proving this theory today and their peers are beginning to follow. Companies will be required to use these channels in order to remain relevant and to effectively compete for capital.

    5.    Real-time investor sentiment will replace traditional investor perception studies.  We can see this trend in non-financial markets now with online surveys and how sentiment is measured across social media.  As the majority of investors move online, companies will embrace that it is more efficient and meaningful to measure perceptions (aka investor sentiment) through social media channels rather than traditional methods.

    *—> Like what you see? Hey! Don’t forget to subscribe to the free Tradestreaming newsletter for updates, tips, and special offers

    An experienced entrepreneur with a history of successfully starting, building and selling communication based companies, Darrell Heaps is a co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Q4 Web Systems.

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  • Hedge fund pick of the week (CNBC): Lorrilard (LO)

    Posted on August 16, 2010 at 5:26 pm UTC


    Here’s CNBC’s weekly hedge fund pick of the week and another window into piggyback investing for our readers. Every week. Anthony Scaramucci aka ‘The Hedge’, offers insight at the names getting the most buzz across the hedge fund community. Scaramucci runs SkyBridge Capital, a leading alternative asset manager with more than $7 billion under management.

    This week focuses on cigarette manufacturer Lorillard ($LO), which he thinks is inexpensive, defensive and has a nice dividend (> 5%).

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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