Tag: securities

Changing the world: one app, one bubble, one ID, and one margin call at a time

Having 2,000 feed items stuffed in one’s reader when returning from even the shortest vacation has me thinking about how to put said reader on vacation as well.

  • MySpace and Facebook apps suck. That’s not what they really said, but The Silicon Alley Insider did point out how little they might really be worth. I’ve got no experience with MySpace apps, and my only brush with Facebook apps was getting some notification that a friend had installed one and I should do the same. My first impression – I’m getting spammed (and others share that feeling). I would never react to such a notice again, even if I was an active Facebook user. Hence, they are worthless to me too (or maybe I’m just worthless to marketers). Also of note: based on their numbers Facebook should be worth something in the neighborhood of $850 million.
  • The New York Times infers that things are getting overheated in Silicon Valley. I disagree – I think a lot more bets are being placed on a lot more companies, and I suspect those bets are generally a lot smaller than post-Bubble 1.0. There may be a lot of duplication of effort going on, but the best execution in each category is going to turn out a winner. The money is just trying to find each of those winners. Meanwhile, TechDirt had its take on the Dallas Cowboys backing out of a domain purchase, but I says its a simple matter of the rest of the world not paying much attention to the chaos.
  • Commodities traders are in short supply. As a general rule, the commodities business also retains far fewer numbers than its big sister on the securities end. I think the actual registered headcount via the CFTC is less than 200K, while the NASD numbers hover around 800K. Someone throw me a bone on those numbers (and if anyone needs a Series 3/30, drop me a line).
  • OpenID gets a victory in the fight against phishing, as well as some competition. I think the first part is great – now the challenge is getting anyone and everyone to embrace Information Cards. On the latter, I’m going to bet it’s a non-starter – too little, too late. Despite being widely embraced, even OpenID is having slow goings regarding consumption (both in systems and people). More power to SlashID if they can be more effective on that end, but I’m skeptical.
  • After consuming this, I dropped TechMeme from my reading list. I guess I can just read each of these every morning from here on out. That, by the way, is a joke.
  • Seems that debt problems extend beyond the government, those bought out, and even mortgagees. I thought much of the last year’s rally was purely cash-driven, but I guess I was wrong. Personally, I only use my margin account for short selling.

I think that covers last week.

Brokerage is dead

I know a lot of stock brokers. The good ones are excellent sales people, but their skill sets usually end there. They generally have rudimentary knowledge of fundamental and/or technical analysis, money management principles, and even basic economics. I don’t know if they forgot all that subject matter right after they passed the Series 7 exam, or they are just plain stupid, but that matters little. If you can sell, you can make commission, and that is what brokers are concerned with.

The retail brokerage culling after the market debacle of 2000-01 has not been fully rejuvenated, and the replacements that are in are being called “advisors.” Unfortunately, most of these folks couldn’t advise their clients way out of a wet paper bag, and the firms they work for know it.
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Potato Chips and Mutual Funds

Quick question:

What do potato chip manufacturers and mutual fund companies have in common?

They both have to pay for shelf space.

Potato chip makers pay supermarket chains for prime space on store shelves. Fund management companies pay brokerage houses for pushing their products. There is a difference, however, between the two. The potato chip deals are legal, and represent an incentive for the chip makers to make sure that good product is on those expensive shelves. In the mutual fund case, it is not so legal, and presents brokerages with an incentive to push poor performing funds on their unsuspecting customers. I hope the latest SEC crackdown puts some additional shady deals in the spotlight, and the perps in the hotseat.
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Open Source Message Queuing

For a colleague of mine: Financial Industry Floats Open-Source Messaging Standard for Web Services, SOA. I was recently introduced to some folks who have been working on a competing product (albeit for some time). It doesn’t surprise me that JP Morgan would try one on their own, with the goal of opening it up. Message queuing is well ingrained in the securities industry.

I will be curious to see if someone picks up on the idea of integrating these systems with Michael Stonebraker’s StreamBase.