March 3, 2020
Women are the largest, fastest-growing, and most underserved target market in financial services today. To find out how and why a mobile app is an ideal platform for women getting started in investing, Vancouver-based Voleo Trading Systems Inc (TSXV: TRAD, OTCQB: VLEOF) is used as a case study and three female leaders of investment clubs are interviewed.
What is Voleo, and how does it work?
Currently available in the U.S., Voleo is the reigning queen of mobile investment clubs and nearly half of its investors are women.
The app lets women trade individually, join an existing investing club or create a new one. They can invite friends, family and colleagues to join the platform, link accounts and begin investing together. Inside the clubs, members propose investment ideas, discuss, then vote on whether the group will purchase the security or not. If a predetermined percentage of members approve, then the order goes to market. They then track their investment club’s performance and compete against other investment clubs around the world if desired. Each time a user votes for a trade that the club does not approve, the hypothetical decision is tracked, known as an “I told you so” feature.
Essentially the app creates a collaborative environment for women to step into the investing space on their terms.
How does Voleo incorporate women into the investing space?
Women have careers, run corporations, are the heads of their households and are savvy when it comes to investing money, making them the number one target market for every financial services firm. Plus, many of the features that get women to invest work just as well for millennials — half of Voleo users are under 40.
Voleo founder, Thomas Beattie, states, “As natural connectors, women have substantial networks. Generally speaking, they consider the implications of actions more carefully. Building communities is essential and we believe women will be influential users of our unique collaborative stock trading platform,” he says. “Women are excellent communicators and their input and messages are integral to the future success of the financial industry.”
With over 800 women interviewed globally over the past decade of diverse ages, professions, backgrounds and personalities, the three biggest takeaways are:
Why sharing and being accountable in mobile investment clubs’ matters
One of the first female leaders of investment clubs interviewed was Randiesa Spires, the president of Florida Stock Sisters, a Voleo African American women’s investment club with eight members who meet online monthly. Spires learned about investing from her parents, but over time she started to think more seriously about taking control of her financial freedom.
She explains, “I was motivated to form the group after I started following a Facebook community of female investors and immediately had the sense that this is where I needed to be.”
She continues, “I had found my community of women who look like me, and I felt comfortable. Florida Stock Sisters has become that sisterhood we all needed and the eight of us know we can count on talking money every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Each week one of us analyzes two companies and then presents our recommendation. Being accountable to the group helps so much — we have to be fully prepared for our meetings.”
The second leader interviewed was, Barbara Brantley, who runs Diversified Divas. Her inspiration to join a club came about when she retired after 25 years as a police sergeant for the Metro Police Department in Washington, D.C.
“I decided it was time to get serious about my money. I followed an investing Facebook community for about a year and then I joined an investment club that was starting in my area. I was drafted as the president by another member and became responsible for getting our club up and running.”
“I thought why not? What a great way to learn! We have 13 members (from diverse walks of life) ranging in age from 25 to 56. The cardinal rule is that all members have to do their own research analysis, propose stocks and be invested.”
The last woman interviewed was Angela Salley, president of Voleo’s MidWest Money Makers – she always wanted to invest, but never knew how to start. “I was apprehensive about the unknown. Three years ago, I stumbled across a women’s investment community in my Facebook feed and I started scrolling through all of the comments and watching some videos. Seeing real female investors resonated with me. I felt I could trust their advice and I loved their enthusiasm.
“As an investor you are more accountable when you are part of a club; you have to trade. It is a must.”
Taking an inclusive approach to investing
Brantley notes, “Before I started Diversified Divas, I used the Voleo app just to practice — you can set up scenarios and track the stocks you would have bought to see how things would have played out.
“Now I feel very confident using real money! Getting involved with a club makes investing affordable for anyone but the main reason I think women should get in is that it forces you to learn as opposed to standing on the sidelines. As a group you can cast a vote by investing in businesses that you feel are aligned with your values, you can save the world in some way.”
Additionally, Spires says, “We vote through the app at the end of the meeting. All of us have the same vision — to make money so that we can leave our families with our legacy rather than a financial burden. We are working towards common goals and it is so rewarding to look at our portfolio and see how it has grown.” Although the clubs get together, you can be anywhere at any time.
How Voleo provides a simple solution to help introduce beginners to investing
“The biggest surprise in all of this for me has been how easy it is to have an investment club using only your mobile phone. Buying stocks sounds like a lot of work but once you get into it you can do it without even thinking — just set it up and let it go. Using the app, we can keep in contact as a group, propose our ideas, vote on our stock suggestions and review our investment portfolio,” Brantley explains.
“I guess I’m pretty obsessed with my Voleo app — I look at it at least three times a day and I feel very competitive with the other clubs. I want us to be number one.”
Spires states, “We each set up an auto-deposit of USD$100 per month via the app. The Voleo app is so simple: I can be on the phone with the members and simultaneously be looking at a pie chart showing the percentage of stocks we own in each sector. If I can do it and not get frustrated, then anyone can do it!”
How will mobile investment clubs pave the way for the global investment industry to attract female investors?
Online investment clubs appear to be an ideal tool to meet the top three needs of today’s investment firms: financial education, client acquisition and adding value over robot.
Firms will have the ability to offer practical financial education. By using the app in a small group setting it makes learning about investing a social, fun and interesting experience for women. Hands-on trading also builds skills, confidence and competence.
Attracting female investors is easier. Women love to share, and happy customers are the best advocates. They will act as ambassadors for investment clubs and inspire others to start their own, reducing customer acquisition costs.
Value over robot
Advisors who embrace the tool and set up small investment clubs with likeminded clients will now have a way to:
Voleo Trading Systems Inc. is a publicly traded fintech company that provides retail investors an innovative, gamified investing experience via its iOS, Android and web applications. Voleo operates as a discount brokerage in the U.S. and is FINRA-licensed in all 50 states. The company offers a bespoke, as well as turn-key, white-label solution for financial institutions around the world looking to enhance their brokerage offering and engage customers in a unique and gamified way. The company is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.
Learn more about the company by visiting their website here.