The 10 Best Things You Can Do On the Web: Trade Funds and Stocks
(Source: Mutual Funds Magazine)
November 2001 — FOLIOfn: …[J]ust what some investors want.
(by Matt Kranz, USA Today)
October 16, 2001 — Q: Is FOLIOfn a safe online broker to invest money through? more
Matt’s answer: [S]imply stated, FOLIOfn has all the same investor safeguards as better known brokerages like Fidelity and Merrill Lynch.
Stock Baskets Aim for the Mainstream
(by Patrick McGeehan, The New York Times)
September 9, 2001 — Quick&Reilly, the brokerage arm of FleetBoston Financial, plans to join forces with FOLIOfn, the company that first introduced online trading of baskets of stocks last year.
SEC Denies Mutual Fund Industry on Regulating FOLIOs
(by Vicky Stamas, Bloomberg)
August 23, 2001 — The Securities and Exchange Commission denied a request by the $7 trillion mutual fund industry to regulate online services that let individuals create their own baskets of stocks as traditional mutual funds. more
…FOLIO investors can create and manage their own portfolios, and each investor is a ‘beneficial owner’ of the securities in the portfolio he or she has fashioned, the SEC said.
As a result, a FOLIO is not a mutual fund, said the letter signed by SEC secretary Jonathan G. Katz.
FOLIOs are subject to regulation and oversight under other federal securities laws, Katz said.
Mutual fund ‘FOLIOs’ growing in popularity and value
(by Brendan Boyd, Daily Herald (Chicago, IL), Universal Press Syndicate)
August 17, 2001 — Of the many new alternatives to traditional mutual funds, ‘FOLIOs’ have probably received the least publicity. Yet FOLIOs give investors the flexibility of managing a portfolio of individual stocks with the built-in diversification inherent in a standard mutual fund. FOLIOs are subject to regulation and oversight under other federal securities laws, Katz said.
Alternative Types of Investments Offer Good Bets for Shaky Times
(by Terri Cullen, The Wall Street Journal)
August 12, 2001 — You’ve got a little money and want to start investing. But with the stock market still so shaky, you’re not sure you’re ready. more
Fortunately, there are some alternate ways to invest in stocks that don’t require a lot of money — or even expertise. These relatively new investments sometimes have confusing names like exchange-traded funds or stock-basket services, but they’re not as complicated as they sound.
Best of all, they’re geared to long-term investors who don’t want to spend a lot of time worrying about their money.
Rather than buy individual stocks (and pay a brokerage commission each time), so-called stock-basket services allow investors with limited funds to buy a small piece of each stock in a group — or basket — of stocks of the investors’ own choosing.
Beware of Greeks and analysts bearing gifts
(by Mitch Zacks, Chicago Sun Times)
August 12, 2001 — The fastest and cheapest way for a small investor to obtain diversification is through a service called FOLIOfn. FOLIOfn, which is basically an online brokerage firm, allows investors to instantly diversify across a large number of selected stocks through the use of fractional shares. The ability to buy fractional shares is truly one of the more exciting innovations I have seen in the last few years, and Zacks has been happily using the service for several individual accounts that we manage.
Brinker Tackles Managed Account Conundrum
August 9, 2001 — [FOLIOfn] will provide Brinker [Capital] with a back-office trading, custody and accounting platform for its managed account programs. Brinker believes the deal will solve the problem of scalability as well as boost its business. more
Brinker works with financial advisors to create asset allocation models for the wealthy. The firm then offers the advisors and their clients access to a pre-selected list of money managers. Hiring FOLIOfnwill enable Brinker to better manage its growing client roster, says COO Tim Henry.
FOLIOfn’s technology will help lower costs by increasing back office efficiency, Henry says.
Lowering costs, in turn, will enable Brinker to reduce its minimum account size of $400,000, he adds. So the FOLIOfnaccount will help Brinker draw from a wider range of potential clients.
Managing growth was such an important issue to Brinker’s future business plan, the firm analyzed its options for a year.
Sensible Ways to Spend Your Tax Rebate Dollars
(by Terri Cullen, The Wall Street Journal)
July 30, 2001 — …[S]tock-basket services offered by Web brokers like FOLIOfn, Inc. of Vienna, Va, allow customers to buy a small piece of each stock in a group-or basket-of the investors’ choosing. more
Here’s how it works: Investors set up a portfolio of as many as 50 stocks, and then whatever amount of money they invest automatically goes to buying a piece of each of the stocks in the basket. In this way, you can achieve a well-diversified portfolio-sort of a mini mutual fund-with much less cash.
New Line of ‘Pick Your Own’ Investment Products Offers Diversity
(by Adelle Waldman, New Haven (Connecticut) Register)
July 1, 2001 — When Robert Adley decided in April that the time was right to start putting money back into the stock market, the East Haven resident did something unique. more
Adley, who is self-employed, owns both mutual funds and individual stocks. But instead of moving more money into either investment vehicle, he handpicked stocks of his own choosing.
…[S]ome financial professionals are willing to offer clients folio-type products, which means investors who prefer advice and active management can get in on the action.
He was able to purchase his own basket of stocks in a single transaction, just as he would buy into a mutual fund.
Eugene Helm, chief operating officer of Wright Investors’ Service — a money management firm in Milford that works with FOLIOfn — said the alliance enables it to bring its private clients ‘institutional grade services.’
“Private clients used to have one account with one investing style-like large-cap,” Helm said. “Through FOLIOfn, they can have multiple FOLIOs, with different investing styles, within one account.”
(by Dan Jamieson, reporting by Tracy Herman, Registered Representative)
July 2001 — Registered Representative recalls the many people, entities and events that have altered the way brokers do business. more
SEC Commissioner from 1994 to 1997, Steven Wallman engaged in unheard of practices for commissioners-getting involved in employment issues and launching entrepreneurial start-ups, among other things.
In March 2000, Wallman launched FOLIOfn, offering investors the ability to purchase and manage baskets of stocks made up of fractional shares. FOLIOfnstarted an institutional service for financial advisers in November 2000.
The Feeling’s Mutual
(by Stacy Forster, The Wall Street Journal)
June 11, 2001 — FOLIOfngives customers a choice on how active to be in selecting a list of stocks. With the service, they can either choose stocks themselves or select one of the FOLIOs the company has put together. more
Investors’ urge to stay in the driver’s seat — to keep control — is reflected in the flexible way that stock-basket products are set up. They cater to the urge to tinker. You don’t have to buy a whole suggested portfolio. You can evict one or more stocks, or build your own basket from scratch.
Thus, stock-basket services offer investors a chance to experiment at stock picking without spending too much money. They also force investors to think about taxes and prod them to diversify, which many ought to do.
And they can be fun, thanks to the elaborate customization capabilities of the Web.
Editors’ Top 8 Picks
(source: ON Magazine)
June 2001 — Here’s a promising new way to diversify your stock holdings…You pick the stocks and decide when to sell them. It can be cheaper than a regular mutual fund or buying a collection of stocks from an e-broker.
The Case for Baskets
(by Bill Syken, ON Magazine)
June 2001 — If the wild market gyrations of the past year have shown one thing, it is this: you should never pin all your hopes on a single stock, or even a single industry. more
Enter [stock] ‘baskets,’ a new type of online investment vehicle that lets you spread your risk around efficiently You pick an array of stocks (with guidance from the service provider, if you want it) and then watch over them, deciding when to sell some and buy others The approach can be much cheaper than investing in a mutual fund or buying a collection of stocks from a brokerage firm.
Some experts say that baskets are the wave of the future in diversified investing, combining the stability of traditional mutual funds with the sense of control that comes with an e-brokerage account. “This is big,” says Jamie Punishill, an analyst at Forrester Research. “This will have a profound impact on the asset-management industry.”
…FOLIOfnlets you buy ‘fractional’ shares. That means that if a stock costs $60, you could buy $100 worth of it, rather than $60 or $120. That means you can add a set amount of money to your portfolio every month or so, a strategy that many experts recommend.
When You Need Just a Little Hand-Holding
(by Susan Scherreik, Business Week)
May 28, 2001 — FOLIOs …provide a framework for picking stocks as well as instant diversification. FOLIOfn customer John Sudduth, a Colorado Springs (Colo.) veterinarian, owns a stock basket based on the site’s popular biotechnology folio. “This way, I can bet on medical technology without having to figure out which couple of companies will be the biggest winners,” he says. Because Sudduth is keen on companies developing novel medical therapies, he pared FOLIOfn’s ready-made list of 30 stocks down to the 12 that best reflect his theme.
The Red Herring 100
(source: Red Herring)
May 1 and 15, 2001 — FOLIOfn is named to Red Herring’s annual list of the top 100 companies “most likely to change the world.” more
Selecting private companies for the Red Herring 100 requires seriousness and rigorous analysis We tempered our admiration for entrepreneurs with a larger-than-usual dose of skepticism, because…every Red Herring 100 company must be a sustainable business The following companies not only met our exacting Red Herring 100 criteria, but …they also managed to delight us.
* * * * *
FOLIOfn: Design Your Own ‘Mutual Fund’
THE HERRING TAKE: FOLIOfn’s low pricing and innovative service could fundamentally change the mutual fund industry…
Make Your Own Fund
(by Douglas Gerlach, Mutual Funds Magazine)
April 2001 — For a flat fee, you can create a Web-based ‘FOLIO,’ or ‘personal fund’ of stocks that you own directly. You can adjust holdings, within limits, to suit your needs, then add money or rebalance holdings with one mouse click. And, perhaps best of all, you can control taxes by deciding what (and when) to sell. more
FOLIOfn was the first out of the gate, early last year, with flat-fee ‘FOLIOs’ for investors.
There are several ways to get started. The ‘FOLIO Wizard,’ a brief questionnaire about your goals and tolerance for risk, leads to a suggested list of stocks Or you can pick from around 100 pre-made portfolios based on basic investing styles (such as large-cap growth), indexes, [and] industry sectors…Or you can simply choose stocks yourself.
There’s a nifty ‘backtesting’ tool—so you can see how a FOLIO would have fared in the past against the S&P 500 or another index When you want to sell, FOLIOfnhelps identify which particular shares to sell to minimize taxes, a very useful feature.
Made-to-Order Funds Grow Despite Stock Market Woes
(by Dena Aubin, Reuters)
March 21, 2001 — Brutal stock market losses have left plenty of investors ready to bolt. But instead of throwing in the towel, some are changing the way they invest. more
They’re starting to take advantage of products known as FOLIOs-diverse baskets of securities that can be tailored to a person’s needs, avoid brokerage fees and that could grow to be upward of a trillion-dollar investment market in 10 years.
“This down market has really impressed upon people the need and virtue of diversification, and that’s what FOLIOs are all about,” said Nancy Smith, vice president for investor education at FOLIOfn, Inc.
The 25 Power Elite
(source: Investment News)
March 19, 2001 — FOLIOfn Founder and CEO Steve Wallman is named to Investment News’ annual list of the top 25 “movers and shakers who, more than anyone else, helped redefine the [financial services] industry last year through innovation or superior management. [Wallman’s] method of investing is grabbing a lot of attention, from other startups to big mutual fund companies.”
The Online Finance 40
(source: Institutional Investor)
March 2001 — FOLIOfn Founder and CEO Steve Wallman is named to Institutional Investor’s annual list of the top 40 “upstarts and veterans, entrepreneurs and executives, who are leading the way in e-finance.” more
Everyone agrees that Steven Wallman had a great idea…Last year the former commissioner for the Securities and Exchange Commission launched FOLIOfn, an online company allowing retail [and institutional] investors to create customized mutual funds, aided by powerful stock and investment style screens…To keep FOLIOfncompetitive, says the 47-year-old Wallman, “increasingly we are looking for partners to help us with distribution and marketing. Our expertise is in financial innovation.” He has made deals with CNBC.com and software company Advent Software.
The Brave New World of FOLIOs
(by Thomas M. Kostigen, Financial Advisor)
March 2001 — FOLIO providers don’t see themselves as competition to mutual funds. Rather, they see themselves as offering complementary products. more
“Investment-management companies have used mutual funds as a delivery system for their services. We’re just offering a new type of delivery system,” says [FOLIOfnmanaging director Jeff] Helms. “Mutual funds are great for a certain type of investor. We fit another need.”
Controlling the stock within a portfolio certainly does have its benefits. Investors can screen their holdings, blocking ‘sin’ stocks and inserting other preferences. Tax harvesting is made easier, matching gains to losses. And capital gains can be guarded from build-ups. (In a mutual fund, all investors are subject to the capital gains of a holding-no matter when a purchase was made.)
“As you probably know by now, with FOLIOs, you can easily create a diversified portfolio of stocks. In fact, with just a few mouse clicks, you can get instant diversification with a couple dozen stocks,” boasts FOLIOfn. “Before FOLIOfn, it was much harder. You would have paid for 50 separate transactions. That’s expensive.”
The difference between buying individual securities and a FOLIO hinges on the single transaction. With FOLIOs, transaction costs can be reduced and portfolio-management economies of scale can kick in.
Traditional unit investment trusts sold through financial advisors have commissions in the 2.75% to 5% range, with a mix of upfront and deferred sales charges. Mutual funds sold with loads have a similar payout. And separate accounts typically sell for 2.25% to 3%. A FOLIO or personal fund would weigh in much cheaper-just an advisory fee and minimal transaction costs.
FOLIOs, The Next Generation Investment Vehicle
(by Steve Winks, Senior Consultant)
February/March 2001 — The value proposition of FOLIOAdvisor is compelling for the financial services professional. FOLIOAdvisoris in equal parts an investment vehicle and an investment technology that answers many of the challenges faced by the financial services professional in making the successful transition to the new advice business model from commission brokerage. more
FOLIOAdvisoris an unparalleled technological triumph and represents extraordinary innovation on every level of the financial services industry.
…[M]ost importantly, both mutual funds and separate account managers would be well served by adopting the FOLIO structure and, in fact, many are. Mutual funds can more aggressively manage their cost and gain access to tax lot accounting which facilitates more tax efficient investment strategies. Mutual fund companies also gain a vehicle which will make them more responsive to the needs of fee-based investment management consultants. The managed account manager is attracted to the FOLIO because it is far more efficient to administer than today’s separately managed account.
Taking a Page From a Survivor
(by Mike McNamee, Business Week)
February 19, 2001 — “We’re getting capital, customers, and partners in an environment where dot-coms supposedly can’t get any of those,” [FOLIOfn Founder and CEO Steve Wallman] says. “I can only chalk it up to the power of our idea.” more
That idea is FOLIOInvesting. FOLIOfnlets investors buy stocks in FOLIOs, or customized baskets, prepackaged by the brokerage or selected by the customer. Think of a FOLIO as a personalized mutual fund-a bundle of up to 50 stocks that can be either diverse or focused by industry, geographic region, or investment style. Wallman’s favorite example: An investor can use a FOLIO to buy the 30 most promising biotech companies, riding the industry’s growth without having to gamble on picking the two or three biggest winners.
Wallman is pitching his idea to investors as a way to cut costs, as well as boost their flexibility. For FOLIOfn’s $295 annual fee [or $29.95 monthly], an investor gets unlimited trades in three FOLIOs, each containing up to 50 stocks What’s more, a FOLIO investor enjoys the tax advantages of owning actual stocks instead of shares in a fund. An investor, for example, can decide to hold off selling stocks that have risen sharply to defer taxes until the next year.
In January, he rolled out FOLIOAdvisor, a web service that lets professional financial planners set up and manage FOLIOs for their clients, with as many as five FOLIOs per client. He also signed an exclusive deal with Advent Software Inc., the leading maker of software for professional money managers, to integrate FOLIO trading into Advent’s systems.
“When you buy a mutual fund, you get two things-low-cost diversification and professional stock-picking,” he explains. “FOLIOs plus advisers let you buy just one of those, or both, in the combination you want.”
Rising Numbers of Investors Make Social Goals a Priority
(by Danny Hakim, New York Times)
February 11, 2001 — Socially responsible investing, as it is called by many investors no matter what their ideology, has been around for decades. But now, as it grows far more popular, it is becoming increasingly Balkanized, with offerings customized to many faiths and beliefs. more
…for investors lacking the minimum amount for a customized private account, there is FOLIOfn, an Internet start-up that sells a half-dozen customized socially responsible portfolios.
Online Stock ‘Baskets’ Target Mutual Funds: Individuals Can Customize Investments
(by Loretta Kalb, Sacramento Bee)
January 31, 2001 — Now, say advocates, the [financial services] industry is again evolving to enable investors to select a ‘FOLIO’ or so-called ‘baskets’ of stocks tailored to meet their individual needs while offering savings in transaction costs and taxes. more
“It’s truly a turning point for individual investors,” remarked Nancy Smith, vice president for investor education at FOLIOfn.
The idea, said Smith, is that an investor would pay nearly $900 in commissions to buy three 20-stock portfolios at $14.95 a trade. The same FOLIOs, however, are possible via FOLIOfnfor about a third the cost.
Folios Provide Alternative to Funds
(by Lisa Singhania, Associated Press)
January 23, 2001 — If you’re bored by mutual funds but nervous about owning individual stocks, you might want to consider an alternative known as FOLIOs. more
…FOLIO investors have full discretion over what they invest in. Investors…choose stocks for their FOLIO or pick from ‘ready-to-go’ FOLIOs that focus on specific industries or issues.
FOLIOs can be tinkered with as much or little as the customer desires.
Be Your Own Fund Manager
(by Robert Barker, Business Week)
January 19, 2001 — FOLIOs are baskets of stocks that, like mutual funds, offer easy diversification. But because you own the stocks directly, you have betterfalt control over your returns-and the taxes on them-than in a pooled fund. more
FOLIOfn, which I tested myself…[is] the real thing FOLIOfn has more ins and outs than I can cover, but here’s my single favorite feature: the clear and full reporting of costs and performance.
(by Joe Gose, Barron's)
January 8, 2001 — Unlike shareholders in true mutual funds, whose portfolios are overseen by professional money managers, FOLIO investors own the individual stocks in their chosen funds and use their own judgment in purchasing or selling issues to take advantage of strategies such as market timing or tax-loss harvesting. That and the low cost of maintaining the funds give people lots of flexibility in handling their accounts.