Originally, the idea  was to limit DriveWealth to just U.S. securities, said Cortright, out of a desire not to compete with “local” financial services firms, but now consumers are demanding more of an all-in-one “one stop shop” for their financial lives putting all of their investments and financial needs on a single platform, so the company is expanding into investments in Europe and Hong Kong.

Robinhood itself is attempting to become such a one-stop-shop, according to Cortright, who argued that the digital investing app shouldn’t be solely blamed for the influx of retail investors into Covid-19’s tumultuous markets.

“It’s not Robinhood that created this push upward, it’s the trend towards global embedded finance,” he said. “There are players now investing who never had access to markets before and are investing for the first time. When they’re investing with these products, especially the ones offering fractional shares, whether they have $25 to invest or $250,000, they can build a diversified portfolio. These applications are teaching people three key things for successful investing: compound interest, diversified portfolios and dollar-cost averaging over time.”

Cortright also named SoFi as a fintech to watch, but advisors and individual investors should keep an even sharper eye out for likely entrances into banking, investing and advice from Apple, Google, Amazon and other major ecommerce players, whose advantages in customer experience could help them dominate the industry.

Through DriveWealth’s relationship with fintech trading platforms, Cortright has observed that many of these new retail investors are “buy-and-hold-type investors” building a portfolio of companies and products they are familiar with as consumers. While U.S.-based investors tend to be more trading oriented and are more likely to trade ETFs, international payers are buying brands.

“I think direct indexing is going to become very popular and effective for these investors because it can be better customized to their goals,” said Cortwright. “Direct indexing is the next big wave, and it directly addresses many of the problems with the mutual fund and ETF industries.“

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