As new investment ideas proliferate on the Web, a couple of Wall Street entrepreneurs have introduced a stock-picking platform so simple their mothers can use it yet sophisticated enough to have gained Wall Street wirehouse brokers as subscribers.
They do it by offering security selection, risk management and portfolio diagnostics via a proprietary algorithm to anybody who’s willing to shell out a mere $9.95 a month.
The mission of ChartLabPro.com, founded by former SouthPort Harbor Associates principal Brett Golden, who raised capital for hedge funds, and Greg Troccoli, a former chief technical analyst for Prudential Securities, is to provide an easy-to-use platform that won’t intimidate investors, no matter what their level of experience.
‘All of the Advisors on the Platform Are Wirehouse Brokers’
“Eighty percent of our subscribers are retail investors, and we have financial advisors, but all of the advisors on the platform are wirehouse brokers with large books,” said Golden in a recent phone interview. “Morgan Stanley, UBS and Merrill are the only financial advisors using it. We don’t have any financial advisors from small shops. I have a group at Merrill Lynch that runs $600 million, but $150 million of that is discretionary. They love it, and I’ll tell you why. A lot of these old-school brokers, they still pick stocks. Even though you think from what you read that 90% of the business is fee-based, that is not true.”
At the same time, Golden added, his own mom has signed on to the site, which was launched seven months ago and has cost its founders a personal investment of about $150,000. The site currently numbers approximately 1,000 users, many of them retirees.
“My mother, who uses it and has been trading on her own a long time, used to have her money with a professional money manager, and she’s like, ‘Why am I paying him 1.5% when he lost me 40% in 2008?’” Golden said. “So now she has all her money at the online brokerage firms. She looks at her portfolio [on ChartLabPro], and it will tell her in the action column what she should be doing with certain names. Three weeks ago she bought Eli Lilly because it went to a strong buy, and it’s up 8.25% since then.”
Other retail users in addition to Golden’s mom value the site. In one instance of the trend toward increased investment sophistication among retail investors, Neetu Vyas, a former accountant with the World Health Organization and American Express, stated a preference for ChartLabPro’s trend indicators, trade alerts, market commentary and earnings previews.