The Power of Collaboration

WebCPA: Stuart Kahan, 7.18.2008

I just came across a rather interesting Web site that I thought I would share with you. It’s called

It’s an online investment forum geared toward allowing the free-flow of information among investors. The site provides a discussion forum where members can immediately gain access to more than 1,500 other members to talk about individual stocks, mutual funds, market sectors (i.e. energy), economic conditions (i.e. housing market), and any number of other topics that affect the everyday investor. The company says that the members on this site are all screened rigorously to ensure that no one is there to “product push” or gain anything besides knowledge. These members, the company notes, range from experienced individual investors to financial professionals and even those new to investment. The majority of the forum members are between the ages of 55 & 65 while over 20 percent are 65+…retirees, or many who are of retirement age but are still employed.

A few of the offerings that brings to the table are an active discussion forum, where with over 125 discussion topics, members can post a discussion question/topic to create a forum of open and free-flowing discussion. These discussions are listed in chronological order and by topic.

There is also what is called shared portfolios whereby users can view the holdings of other users, or share their own portfolios with the group. Members can also view the latest news on the stocks within each of the shared portfolios. Moreover, they can choose to contribute to the “Community Portfolio Project,” a portfolio built solely on the picks of members who wish to share their portfolios with others.

Then too, there is a stock-picking contest where members participate in quarterly or year-long contests in which they choose a handful of stocks and a desired weight. Prizes are then given at the end of each contest period to the members with the highest performing portfolios.

And finally, there are group polls by which members can create a poll question to their peers, answer questions posted by other members, and view results of all poll questions posted.

ValueForum was formed in 2003 by Adam Menzel, Ben Nobel, and Daniel Pedisich. They created the site with the belief that the power of collaboration leads to better investment decisions. They say that there have always been investment clubs where people physically get together in a room every week, but now there is a way to bring people together from all over the country, and the world, to one spot in order to share their ideas.

The benefit, they note, is a collaboration of cultural diversity, different work experiences, and varying investment experiences. The power of “group thinking” benefits those investors managing their own portfolio as well as those managing accounts for clients, says the company. Members immediately gain access to a wealth of knowledge about different industries to help them in their due diligence and analysis on investments, sectors, and the like.

Now, in the interests of fair disclosure, I am not advocating or “pushing” this in any way. I simply am imparting information about such a site and you can take it from there.

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