The most frequent and consistent refrain I see in Seeking Alpha comments is the praise readers have for the help they get via articles and comments by their peers. But the virtues of SA's social usage go well beyond investor education. Newly published today was a fantastic example of this.
The case history here is instructive. Michelle M. Waymire, a marketing exec at a mutual fund firm, wrote an article on social media compliance last month, to which SA contributor Joshua S. Hall - a financial advisor - responded in the comments with a question as to how to apply those rules to advisors like him who write on Seeking Alpha specifically.
The result was this fantastic article, published today, which walks advisors through the steps of how to be compliant given SA's unique site features. The article doesn't just give you a few rules (though one should not discount the value of aggregating them here in one spot); more than that, it offers ideas on best practices, by making explicit the connection between a certain rule and its underlying value - like putting clients first. I quote:
"Social media usage presents some unique opportunities to breach that fiduciary duty in ways you might not have considered. Consider for example, the goal of your research, which is primarily to benefit your clients and your employer. This means a change in recommendation or the discovery of a new investment opportunity should be first shared with your employer and relevant clients, then posted online."
A capital idea, and an ethical one! What's more, Michelle recommends that advisors writing on the site avoid touting their abilities and instead focus on sharing their ideas. I am personally aware of cases in which readers personally contacted an advisor (about their services) after reading the advisor's excellent advice. The reason is simple: the quality of the ideas attracted the reader rather than any non-compliant boasting about skills and services.
While SA will primarily remain a forum for investor education, I am pleased to see the site increase its utility as a resource for advisor education as well.
With no further ado then, here are some additional advisor links for today:
- Charming "dialogue" between an investment coach and his sagacious yoga instructor on the need for investors to learn to relax.
- UBS global chief investment officer Mark Haefele lays out the firm's investment strategy - unfazed by political tail risks.
- Roger Nusbaum discusses what would happen to bond ETFs in a market meltdown and the importance of understanding the "bear case" even when staying invested.
- BofA Merrill Lynch is close to settling with SEC over failure to safeguard retail brokerage accounts.
- Former advisor discusses the three broad stages in the life cycle of investing.
- The Heisenberg argues Japan has now officially quantitatively eased itself to death.
- He also notes (with greater concern) that China is stealthily depreciating its currency and exporting deflation.
- Book review on risk management for finance experts.