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Welcome to a wired world, investors and financial advisors (Future of Investing)

Posted on August 10, 2010 at 12:51 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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Welcome to a world where the traditional ways in which we gather information, develop relationships, and make important decisions have changed dramatically.  Welcome to a wired world!  Our influences have changed with the explosive growth of the internet and the proliferation of blogs, social networks, online ratings and reviews, and micro-blogging
services that allow us to share, connect, engage and advance our knowledge.  Our networks are accessible from anywhere and everywhere, in real time, through our mobile devices and constant wired connections.  Whether we realize it or not, these online information channels and networks are significantly changing the way we think and behave.

The financial services industry is no exception to the wired world revolution with the emergence of new media investment platforms, social investing sites, and even financial advisors and professionals delivering their insight and guidance through blogs, social media and social networking.  At the same time, consumer access to financial information and guidance, low cost investment vehicles and platforms, increased transparency and choice, and new media tools are empowering individual investors to take control of their
wealth.  We have a paradigm shift happening that will forever change the future of investing like never before.

Investors who can sift through all of the financial content and find the “quality” insights will have the best opportunity for success.  The key will be discovering relevant resources and strategies that they can implement with discipline and consistency.  Financial advisors and professionals who provide high quality, differentiated content in their niche markets and focus on their areas of expertise will be most successful in the race to win relationships with investors.  Blogging, search, and social media will all be part of the strategy equation for attracting the right investors into a suitable model based on their goals and objectives.  Ultimately, investors AND financial advisors who understand and embrace the merging of social relationships and technology can truly become partners in achieving their respective goals.

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WIRED ADVISOR was founded by Stephanie Sammons (LinkedIn).  Stephanie spent a total of 15 years in the financial services industry at two of the largest global wirehouse firms and served as a Financial Advisor, Branch Manager, and Regional Sales Manager.

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

    Posted on August 16, 2010 at 1:30 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.

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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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  • Letter.ly: perfect tool for financial bloggers to begin monetizing ideas

    Posted on August 13, 2010 at 1:21 pm UTC

    Letter.ly is a newcomer on the newsletter scene launched a couple of months ago by drop.io founder, Sam Lessin.  An industry blogger, Lessin had grown tired of the free newsletter scene citing a variety of concerns that lead him to take his newsletter offline and begin charging for it.

    I am done with blogging personally. A little over two years later, It no longer serves the purposes outlined above, and even beyond that I find writing for an open audience is actually exceedingly disingenuous if not straight hypocritical given my strong belief in the value of “information”.

    a. Understanding the medium: ‘blogging’ as a medium is quickly being out-moted by passive and active data-streams.  I understood what I needed to understand, I don’t need to understand more about it.  I am not turning off facebook in the least (though I will not be putting ‘high value’ content through it specifically because the value of information is inversely related to how public it is), but the highest value thoughts need not be public for the sake of exploration anymore.

    b.  An audit-able trail on the web for defense and offense: I have what I feel I need for now.  I will occasionally need a mouthpiece, but I believe I can generate that when needed through other channels

    c.  Personal intellectual rigor: Still critical, but sharing ideas at a high velocity with a set of people I respect through other written means will serve the purpose just as well…  I do think that forcing yourself to write down and refine is critical

    d.  Communicative margin: It is gone. There is no margin left in blogging (nor is there margin left in twitter/fb status potentially)…  the flight pattern is too full, you don’t get any prizes anymore for showing up, and the people I really respect/want to share ideas with have mostly stopped reading blogs.

    Financial bloggers looking to begin charging for all or some of their content will find that letter.ly is absolutely the easiest way to build a premium newsletter product.

    Here’s how it works:

    1. sign up
    2. letter.ly provides you with a URL to send subscribers to
    3. publishers also receive a unique email address — this is how you publish.  Create the newsletter in word/email client and just send off.

    There are some basic tools to manage your list or to comp some free subscriptions.  By clicking on ‘cash out’, you can get paid.

    Yeah, this gets into the whole openness/closed discussion surrounding the web and for that, check out Is it time to stop blogging (GigaOM) and Let’s take this online (Joel Spolsky on Inc.).

    Clearly, some newsletter publishers are going to want a lot more functionality in their subscription product.  That’s fine and letter.ly is probably not for them.  But if you’ve already built an audience and you’re looking to upsell them to an more intimate, more in-depth product, letter.ly is perfect.

    Let me know what you think.

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  • More technology, more information still requires guidance

    Posted on August 12, 2010 at 12:50 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.  Mick Weinstein, ex-Editor in Chief of Seeking Alpha contributed this piece as part of the introduction to my new book.

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    My father was a young attorney with a few bucks to invest when he stepped in a local brokerage house in Wilmington, Delaware. It was the summer of 1970.  “You’d open the door to smoke wafting through the air and the aroma of strong-brewed coffee, and ?nd 20 or so retired altacockers sitting around a sort of minitheater, peering up at the electronic quotes rolling by on the wall, plotting their next moves,” he recalls. On a nearby table, a few loose-leaf binders issued by Standard & Poor’s held one-pagers on the most commonly traded stocks: management bios, basic ?nancials, price history. “Oftentimes you’d go to research a stock from the S&P binder and its page would be missing,” my dad recalls. “Some of these guys didn’t read so fast, so they’d sneak a few sheets home in their jacket pocket to peruse after watching Cronkite.”

    Behind the altacockers were the brokers, including my father’s broker-to-be, Jack. For this generation of stock market investors, the brokers had all the real information—and clout. Upon receiving fresh research from his ?rm’s Wall Street analysts (who enjoyed privileged access to company executives and industry data and trends), Jack would dial up his clients selectively to suggest buys and sells that drove his own, entirely commission-based income. On the golf course and at dinner parties, the young professionals bragged to one other about the stocks that their broker “put them into,” and Jack was held in high esteem by my father and his community peers.

    For my father’s generation, stock market investing was de?ned by information scarcity and personal trust in your broker. Fast forward to 2010. Today’s Internet has almost completely wiped out this scene from just 30 years ago. Today’s individual investors confront a market characterized by information overload and a need for personal decision making. The good news: No missing pages on that loose-leaf binder—you can get massive amounts of information and opinion on any given stock with the click of a mouse. The bad news: There’s no Jack. You’re on your own to make sense of it all and, unless you have the means to hire an asset manager, to build your portfolio yourself.

    So where to begin? Most individual investors today are familiar with the large portals like Yahoo Finance and MSN Money that allow you to enter your portfolio or watchlist and receive mounds of data, breaking news and traditional journalism on stocks you own or follow. The portals also offer some powerful stock screens that can help an investor with speci?c strategic goals to access stocks, ETFs or other products that meet those objectives.  Seeking Alpha augments this content with informed, well-researched opinion and analysis from market professionals and sector experts, plus free conference call transcripts to read what industry leaders are saying about their business and sectors. Instant access to regulatory ?lings (coupled with Regulation FD) grants everyone immediate access to company reports, important developments, top investors’ moves, and corporate insider stock sales/buys. And new players in the market like Covestor and other “crowdsourcing” sites aim to bubble up the best individual investors and stock pickers, so individual investors can lock onto their ideas or even copy their trades.

    So where’s today’s Jack in all this? Or, given the fact that investment goals differ so greatly, perhaps the question is better phrased: Where’s your Jack in all this? The bottom line is that you need to build your own Jack today. That means you need to do more homework, but once you’ve found the tools that work well for you, the process of portfolio building is much more rewarding and, likely, lucrative than it was a generation ago.

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

    Mick Weinstein was Editor in Chief of market and investment analysis website Seeking Alpha until April, 2010. A graduate of the University of Michigan, he now lives in Israel with his family.

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  • Social media’s impact on marketing of investment management (Future of Investing)

    Posted on August 11, 2010 at 2:47 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.

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    Social media is a shock to the way investment management marketers are accustomed to communicating. It’s conversational, transparent, improvisational, experimental—all of which challenges the status quo. Investment marketers who want their firms to continue to be relevant recognize that changes must be made in how firms interact online. For them, social media can serve as a platform to advance strategic change.

    The goal of a conversation is to understand, and we see marketers working to better align the value of their firms’ content/thought leadership, how it’s packaged and where it’s delivered with what their distribution partners and investors want and increasingly expect. Slowly, they are introducing a new organizational discipline—listening—and they’re beginning to adjust and refine based on what’s heard. Some social media devices—all functionality that represents endorsements, for example—are not available to marketers for regulatory reasons. But other means can be put to use and we believe that firms’ authentic efforts will be well received. Success? It will be enjoyed by those who prevail, through trial, failure and a new rigor for measurement and analysis.

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

    Pat Allen, principal of the digital marketing consulting firm Rock The Boat Marketing and
    founder of AdvisorTweets.com, Chicago.

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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