Wall $treet Week With FORTUNE
(host Karen Gibbs)
November 21, 2003 — While there are still many good mutual funds out there, there are also new ways to play the game. Steve Wallman left his job at the SEC to start FOLIOfn, a whole new way of owning stocks.
Mutual Fund Investors Hang Tough Amidst Scandal
(by Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun)
November 16, 2003 — It takes about 20 stocks in a variety of sectors to make a diversified portfolio, said James Angel, an associate professor of finance for Georgetown University. Thanks to technology, building a portfolio is now easier and less expensive, he said. more
Online brokerages, such as…FOLIOfn, allow small investors to build portfolios of dozens of individual stocks, Angel said.
With FOLIOfn, for example, investors can buy a prepackaged basket of stocks or create a portfolio of up to 50 stocks. The monthly fee for a single portfolio is $19.95 and includes 200 trades.
Downtown; See No Evil
(by Steve Bailey, The Boston Globe)
November 12, 2003 — That is not what I want as an investor. When I buy into Fidelity Dividend Growth, I am buying into Fidelity and its fund manager, Charles Mangum. What I am buying with Dividend Growth is not a separate company with a board, but an investment product just like an annuity, a CD, or an option. Mutual funds should be treated the same way. Let the regulators regulate. Let the compliance officers and auditors ensure strict compliance with the regulations. And let the funds compete on the basis of price, service, and value. more
“Everyone knows how much Schwab or E*Trade charge for a trade and they are consistently innovating and offering more and more for the investor,” says Steven M.H. Wallman, a former commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission and current chief executive of FOLIOfn, an online brokerage. “But who knows how much a mutual fund costs each month and what has been the level of innovation? A system that promotes competition would have significant advantages over one that suggests that investors do not need to shop around because there is a board that is supposed to have gotten the best deal for them.”
Keeping Tabs On The Street
(by Kimberly Weisul, Business Week)
November 2003 — Steven Wallman, 50, is a former SEC commissioner who now runs online brokerage FOLIOfn. Wallman, whose company helps investors diversify more cheaply than with mutual funds, recently shared his thoughts-as a CEO and as a former regulator-on Wall Street’s troubles. more
While investors are applauding state regulators for chasing Wall Street miscreants, Wallman is less thrilled. State regulators can’t issue broad guidelines, and with so many rules, he says, “multiplying by 50 is problematic when building a national marketplace.”
Disclosure still needs improvement, says Wallman. Disclosure of mutual-fund fees would help investors and competition. He urges boards to think of investors. “Would the directors of Worldcom have approved the [former CEO Bernard] Ebbers’ loans if they had asked themselves: ‘How do we explain this at the annual meeting?’” he asks. Good question.
The Feeling’s Not Mutual
(by Randall Forsyth, Barron's)
November 10, 2003 — FOLIOfnprovides industrial-strength basket trading, aiming at investors who will actively manage their accounts, placing trades frequently. Each folio can hold up to 50 stocks each, and the pricing plan allows you to conduct unlimited trades during the two daily transaction windows. You can treat each folio as a separate unit, distributing a specific dollar amount evenly across all the stocks in a folio, or sell a folio’s entire contents at once. You can also rebalance a folio with a few clicks of your mouse, something not offered by the sites above.
(by Linda Stern)
August 4, 2003 — You can skip funds altogether and try a relatively new investment called a folio that’s sold online at FOLIOfn.com. These are baskets of individual stocks, assembled like fund portfolios, but with an important difference: you own the stocks themselves, rather than holding them indirectly through a fund. That gives you opportunities for tax breaks you don’t get in a mutual fund. It also lets you hold expenses down. You can buy three portfolios for $295 a year. Trade to your heart’s content with all the fun of investing and no hidden fees.
from Investment Advisor
(by Melanie Waddell)
June 17, 2003 — Pity the planner with a small practice: he pays higher fees for poorer service and feels abandoned by long-time partners. But other firms are popping up that cater to the smaller advisor. more
The good news is that there are firms like…FOLIOfn,…that are willing to step up to the plate-and that claim they won’t offer competing services…After getting advisor feedback, FOLIOfnis now building a fund supermarket platform, and is aggressively growing the number of funds on the platform, FOLIOfn doesn’t require advisors to have a minimum asset size, is self-clearing, offers trading and online tax tools, as well as online proxy voting, and supports downloads from portfolio management software packages like Centerpiece, Advent, and TechFi. It also offers a Web-based interface so advisors can manage client accounts, as well as online client filing cabinets, that allow delivery of statements, confirmations, and proxy notifications.
If you're a small advisor that’s caught up in the minutiae of pursuing a new custodian, and fear you won’t find the right match, don’t lose heart: More firms are hastening to fill the void.