Two of the most hypercaffeinated commentators in the financial blogosphere, Barry Ritholtz and Josh Brown, are forming their own investment advisory firm, Ritholtz Wealth Management, but that won’t stop the blog-happy duo from blogging.
ThinkAdvisor asked Brown on Tuesday how their blogging busy-ness jibes with client portfolio management, and he said their absorption in financial news beats cold calling, seminars and similar activities by other financial professionals.
“We choose to spend our days being informed about policy. Blogging is part of our research. I write to find out what I think. I’m not writing ad copy. My clients know exactly what I think about every subject on the market,” he says.
Investors, financial professionals and financial news junkies have long turned to Ritholtz’s Big Picture blog and Brown’s Reformed Broker blog to get their fix of market news and commentary—when they’re not watching them on their frequent TV news appearances. Before giving their take on fast-moving financial markets, both typically offer a string of morning news links, doubtless causing many to wonder whether sleep is part of their daily routine.
Putting their ideas into financial planning practice is not new to Ritholtz (below) and Brown, who were already doing that at New York City-based Fusion Analytics.
Rather, as is common in breakaway situations, the advisor-bloggers wanted to do things their way, according to Brown.
“I had a really good experience at Fusion for the last three years,” Brown says. “We started an advisory firm from scratch. We got many clients and many referrals. But it got to a point where it made more sense to be a standalone firm than a practice within a firm.”
Brown says having their own firm will enable him and his partner to add technological capabilities and new services to their advisory platform.
“When you don’t own your firm, and you’re a practice in your firm, it’s not up to you how your money gets spent.
“We want to bring on more CFPs who can work directly with our clients,” he continues. “We believe the true value for the client is having a personal relationship with their advisor, that the person you work with is intimately involved with your situation. We really feel we want to staff up.”
Ritholtz’ “day job,” according to his blog bio, involved “institutional strength number crunching,” so it is perhaps no surprise that the firm plans on beefing up its technology.
“On the tech side, what used to be acceptable was a client being allowed to log into his advisory account and getting a report quarterly—‘Here’s how you did compared to the S&P,’” Brown says. “But clients want to see their investable assets alongside the rest of their assets. They want context as to how they’re doing compared to every aspect of their life. We also want to have much deeper analytics for those clients of ours who are more sophisticated … that requires an investment in software, investment in education.”