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Friday, 07 May 2021 17:58

A Good Time for the Gig Economy?

More investors and their financial advisors are considering the gig economy as a potential high-growth investment and an effective way to have their portfolios benefit from long-term, global labor and technology trends. The “gig economy” refers to the group of companies that embrace, support or otherwise benefit from a workforce where independent consultants, contractors, temporary, or on-call workers are empowered to create their own freelance business by leveraging recent developments in technology platforms that enable individuals to offer their services directly to retail and commercial customers. In its best form it represents the personalization of employment and empowerment of workers. For businesses, it’s about being able to tap into on-demand talent in a convenient and customized manner.

Why Invest in the Gig Economy

Declining/Changing Work Force:

Many countries around the world have been seeing declining birth rates for decades, which is reducing their labor pools and therefore forcing companies to find an alternative workforce. COVID has forced the exit of millions of people who cannot work and meet the increased demands at home at the same time.

Many of them are looking for flexible schedules and prefer remote jobs so they can manage home learning and other personal demands, not just in the short term but also longer term.

More businesses are viewing talent as networked ecosystems and are taking steps to create business talent models that integrate internal and external workers in teams, blending full-time/permanent hires with freelance, contract, or on-demand talent for flexibility, speed and workforce sustainability.

Technology Advancements:

Rapidly accelerating technological changes in processing power and connectivity have created a data revolution, which is placing unprecedented amounts of information in the hands of consumers and businesses and enabling a proliferation of technology-enabled business models like GrubHub and Lyft.

The furious pace of technological innovation is shortening the lifecycle of companies, enabling rapid introduction and adoption of gig-related tools and platforms. Equally, it is changing the economies of scale equation, allowing small companies to compete in a global marketplace.

Ultimately, many believe the growing development and acceptance of technology may disintermediate the employment model*.

About the SoFi Gig Economy ETF

GIGE is the first ETF to seek long-term capital appreciation concentrating specifically on companies involved in the revolutionary shift towards a gig economy. GIGE is very much a theme of themes by tapping into the global trends in the workforce and technology, providing access to the companies that have transformed the way people access goods, services and work. The fund is actively managed by Toroso Investments to keep on top of emerging companies and market trends and conditions. The fund is structured so most companies that IPO and fit GIGE’s criteria can be included in the portfolio after one month of trading, as opposed to traditional passive funds that typically wait 60 to 90 days to include a new IPO.

GIGE’s breadth of holdings represents the broadest definition of the gig economy to tap into its high growth potential. GIGE’s holding are approximately 40-50% outside the U.S. and include large-, mid and small-cap securities. Their investment strategy considers many household gig names, but they also use a “pick-and-shovel” strategy, meaning they research many companies that support the gig economy.

GIGE companies include four categories:

Platform Businesses:

This is likely what most people think of when they hear gig economy. This category includes: app-based platforms, web-based stores, auction sites, and other commission-based platforms such as Alibaba, eBay and Etsy.

Services and Transactions Businesses:

This includes companies that facilitate transactions and support the operations of the gig economy such as DocuSign, PayPal and Square.

Marketing Businesses:

Traditional marketing is expensive and doesn’t work in the gig economy. However, social media and messaging companies work well and therefore make up a large portion of this segment. Examples include Eventbrite, Facebook, Tencent, and Twitter.

Ancillary Businesses:

This category includes non-traditional companies, such as HealthEquity, that are not directly related to the gig economy but support and/or benefit from the gig economy.


The SoFi Gig Economy ETF offers a compelling investment option for investors and financial advisors to position portfolios to help benefit from global demographic changes and technology innovations. Investors are already engaging with the rapidly growing gig economy and now they can more readily invest in it.

n.b. This is sponsored content and is not FINSUM editorial

(New York)

Congratulations are in order for Merrill Lynch. In what is mundane—but big—news, the firm has just introduced a paperless onboarding solution for clients. Barron’s describes it this way: “fully digitizes the procedure, allowing clients to approve new account openings through digital attestation on a computer, tablet, or cellphone. What once took a week or more can now be done in a day … That may not be its standout feature, though. COBE allows client associates to simultaneously enter information and process multiple new clients in the same household—for multiple accounts … During an online demonstration, Merrill executives showed a fictitious example of a client associate entering information for a couple who wants to open a joint brokerage account, two IRAs, a joint bank checking account, and a custodial account for their niece. Once an associate has entered as much information as he has from an earlier client conversation, he can invite the new clients to collaborate virtually on the rest. They can view the same screen and make changes to it simultaneously. During the process, the associate can click a button to perform a real-time identity check on the client to satisfy know-your-customer requirements, without asking the client to upload documents.”.

FINSUM: This sounds like the holy grail of onboarding tools. Merrill should package this up and sell it as a service to others in the industry!

Friday, 07 May 2021 17:54

The Best Income Investments in 2021

(New York)

Income is both extremely desired, and very hard to achieve in today’s market. Based on the economic data which hit the morning of the 7th, it seems likely to stay that way. So where are the best places to find income? One of the first places investors think of outside of bonds is the dividend aristocrats, but the bad news is they are only yielding 1.9%. If you need more income, check out high yield bond ETFs like the SPDR Bloomberg Barclays High-Yield Bond ETF (JNK), which yields 4%. But the best bet is to look at bond closed end funds, for example the DoubleLine Income Solutions Fund run by bond legend Jeffrey Gundlach. The fund yields 7.3%.

FINSUM: Bond closed end funds are great. Many trade at a discount to their NAV and they have very nice yields.

Friday, 07 May 2021 17:53

As Tech Falters, Big Trouble at ARK

(New York)

Tech is in a rough patch right now. The Nasdaq fell for four straight days leading into May 6th, and even on the 6th, smaller tech stocks fell sharply. All of this is spelling trouble for the recent manager-of-the-moment: Kathy Wood and ARK etfs. The fund’s flagship ARKK has lost an eye-opening 12% so far this week. The worst start to a month since it launched in 2014.

FINSUM: The fund is still up 94% over the last twelve months, but it looks like the next few months are going to be very rough for tech as investors try to digest the new rate environment.

Thursday, 06 May 2021 16:59

JP Morgan Warns of Big Tech Correction

(New York)

For anyone who has enjoyed the big rally in tech shares after the rough February through March period, JP Morgan has bad news…see the full story on our partner Magnifi’s site

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