The twists and turns of the online brokerage’s path to a public offering The brokerage app Robinhood has transformed retail trading. WSJ explains its rise amidst a series of legal investigations and regulatory challenges as it looks forward to its IPO. Photo illustration: Jacob Reynolds/WSJ
The Federal Reserve is trying to figure out how to keep cash relevant in a cashless world. It’s considering digitizing the U.S. dollar, giving people money they can access on their phone and bypassing electronic payments that can be slow and costly for businesses. Illustration: Jacob Reynolds/WSJ
Recently, the U.S. inflation rate reached a 13-year high, triggering a debate about whether the country is entering an inflationary period similar to the 1970s. WSJ’s Jon Hilsenrath looks at what consumers can expect next. Photo: Alexander Hotz
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies set out to upend the financial order and replace conventional money. Bitcoin has certainly disrupted the global financial system, but can it ever live up to the hype? Read our latest report on cryptocurrency: https://econ.st/3wnYfRr
So-called green bonds have become more popular in recent years, and this fast-growing segment of the $128.3 trillion global bond market could grow even more. When an issuer sells a green bond, they’re making a nonbinding commitment to earmark the sale’s proceeds for environmentally friendly projects. That could include renewable energy projects, constructing energy efficient buildings or making investments in clean water or transportation. Green bonds fall under the wider umbrella of sustainable bonds, which include fixed-income instruments whose proceeds are set aside for social or sustainability projects. Big household names such as Apple and PepsiCo are diving into this space. A handful of massive banks and governments around the world are also issuing sustainable bonds, including China, Russia and the European Union. This may be contributing to the space’s rapid growth. A report from Moody’s said new sustainable bond issuance may top $650 billion in 2021. That would represent a 32% jump from 2020.
To balance their budgets during the coronavirus pandemic, states including New Jersey and New York have raised taxes on the wealthy. Conservatives warn that it will cause many of those who left at the onset of the pandemic make those moves permanent since they’re no longer bound to the physical locations of their offices or their children’s schools. But available data from 2020 show that the so-called exodus wasn’t as pronounced as initially projected, and the urban exit that did happen, was to suburbs rather than low tax states.
The listing of Coinbase, the largest bitcoin exchange in the U.S., introduces a new way to invest in cryptocurrencies. WSJ explains how Coinbase is trying to distance itself from the risks of bitcoin to succeed on Wall Street. Photo illustration: George Downs
Robo-advisors have had a meteoric rise in popularity since their debut in 2008 thanks to the support from millennials and Gen Z. Today, Robo-advisors manage $460 billion, with some analysts predicting it will become a $1.2 trillion industry by 2024. Watch the video to find out why some investors believe it will never replace traditional human financial.
Since their debut in 2008, robo-advisors have had a meteoric rise in popularity. In 2020, they managed $460 billion, a 30% increase compared with 2019. Some analysts predict robo-advising will become a $1.2 trillion industry by 2024. “Investors historically have had two options when it comes to managing their investments. They could do it themselves through something like an online broker or you can work with a financial advisor,” explained Brian Concannon, head of Digital Advisor at Vanguard.
“Now, with the advent of robo-advisors, there’s a third option, and that’s to merge the benefits of professional money management and advice with the convenience of an all-digital application.” Robo-advisors’ sudden rise to prominence was made possible due to massive interest and support from millennials and Gen Z. According to a recent survey by Vanguard, millennials were twice as likely as young baby boomers to consider using a robo-advisor for investments.
“I believe that there are things that technology or algorithms can do better than humans can,” said Taylor Crane, a robo-advisor customer. “And I have no problem trusting a software to do that.” Skeptics do not expect robo-advisors to replace human advisors entirely in the near future. “Clearly, there’s always going to be a human element that’s missing,” said Jason Snipe, chief investment officer at Odyssey Capital Advisors. “My problem always will be the emotional response. Take a situation like last year when we’re going through Covid-19 and markets are moving a lot, dramatically. …
You can’t talk to the technology, right?” To combat this, many robo-advisor companies including Betterment and Vanguard began providing the option of hybrid services that combine both human and digital advice. “[Some] investors we see crave validation from a financial advisor,” said Concannon. “So for those investors, being able to pick up the phone and have a video conference with a financial advisor, have a discussion about their needs and wants goes an incredibly long way to providing them the peace of mind that they so desperately need.”
Time is on the side of the robo-advisory industry as the technology continues to improve and the younger generations accrue more wealth. “I think some combination of the two probably is where we are headed for in the future,” said Snipe. “I think the robo space has room to grow. I think it will obviously modify and change and become even more sophisticated.”
Vaccine passports are likely to become a feature of everyday life as lockdowns are lifted across the world. But as “green passes” kick-start economies, what are the potential drawbacks? Read more of our coverage on coronavirus : https://econ.st/397Mkxq