“We encourage sound investment over time,” says Gili Beiman, co-founder of MarketGuru, whose experts help people make real-life decisions about their stock portfolios.With America’s financial market gone belly up, financial advisors — at least those still employed — are scrambling for new tools, opportunities, and a leg up in these unpredictable times. Israel’s MarketGuru, an online source for expert stock market advice, might be that advantage both brokers and the independent investor are looking for.
Gili Beiman, the product manager and a co-founder of MarketGuru could have predicted the US market crash: “People were disappointed with their brokerage firms,” he tells ISRAEL21c from his Tel Aviv office. “Merrill Lynch, a brand name, throughout the years told customers: ‘We will manage your risk.’ They couldn’t even manage their own business,” he says.
Now, Beiman sees the stock market crash as an ability to build something new: “Every forest needs a big fire every 100 years,” he says. “When the fire is over, we will see some interesting new trees sprouting.”
To sprout new “trees”, Beiman and his team of three at MarketGuru have developed a means for shifting stock market trading from the hands of the big brokers to “do-it-yourself investment.” For everyone from the seasoned Wall Street banker, to the dentist in Wyoming, the mom in New York, or the MBA student, MarketGuru provides a way to match individual investment expertise with the need to get true expert trading advice from the experts.
Market gurus earn real cash
“We encourage sound investment over time,” says Beiman, who founded the company earlier this year, soft launching it at the TechCruch conference in April. Some $400,000 in private funds has gone into building the application.
While the site isn’t yet hooked up to a real stock exchange, the “gurus” — the experts who sign on to give real market advice — can earn very real money — $5 for every “follower” on the site. Followers are allowed to choose three gurus, and have access to their performance, trading history and strategy, all of which are transparent to community members.
As a follower, one would naturally choose gurus as “people who share your investment strategy,” says Beiman. Getting early alerts about what a guru is about to trade in the coming days is part of the package, a service, which can help people make real-life decisions about their stock portfolios without the hefty brokerage fees.
Based on sound investment strategies
The best gurus may not necessarily be the ones with the most dividends, says Beiman. Ranked by the number of followers alone, this approach is different to that of other virtual trading sites, which encourage risk-taking; most tend to rank people on the amount of money they are making at a given point in time, and not the health of their investments over the long term.
MarketGuru.com allows members to start out by managing a free virtual portfolio, and plans to launch a premium “boardroom” advice service by spring 2009, while cultivating its growing social network of market players. “The Internet has come of age through social investing. That’s why 2009, I think, will be year of social investing,” says Beiman. “In my mind that means we are harnessing the talent base of the community to the benefit of every member.”
“It’s not a game,” he concludes.