Bloomberg has quietly pulled the plug on its new wealth management business BloombergBlack just months after the financial data company began offering investment advice for individuals.

Last updated: July 26, 2013 2:39 pm

Bloomberg pulls plug on wealth management business

By Tracy Alloway in New York

Bloomberg has quietly pulled the plug on its new wealth management business just months after the financial data company began offering investment advice for individuals. “We weighed the future prospects of the business against the ongoing resource investment and concluded that it wasn’t in our best interest to continue moving forward,” a Bloomberg spokesman said. “We remain optimistic about the idea and open to the possibility of pursuing a similar business in the future.” Discussions about shutting the web-based service, which took more than three years to develop, were already in advanced stages as early as June, according to people familiar with the business.Bloomberg began a trial of the service, called BloombergBlack, only months before, billing the new business as a “premium wealth management service” and sending out private invitations to potential clients.

Bloomberg’s exit from its brief foray into one of the most traditional of financial services comes amidquestions about the company’s ambitions after recent scandals.

Under chief executive Dan Doctoroff, Bloomberg has branched out from its financial data and news information business into operating trading platforms for equities, bonds, currencies and derivatives. It also owns a broker-dealer.

This expanding scope is taking it into territory that is often directly regulated, and which comes with obligations to protect against conflicts of interest – obligations that on some occasions Bloomberg has fought to water down.

Bloomberg apologised in May for allowing its news reporters to snoop on terminal clients, following a complaint from Goldman Sachs. The financial data company also announced a number of new appointments to lead an independent review into how it handles client information.

BloombergBlack costs $100 a month for customers. That is far below the $20,000 annual fee for a Bloomberg terminal, but still more than what many other online investment advisories and wealth management services ask for.

The service applied to the US Securities and Exchange Commission to become a “registered investment adviser” three years ago. It had since hired professionals from competing retail brokerages, wealth management companies and investment advisers such as TD Ameritrade, Fidelity and Schwab.

Unlike those brokerages, however, customers using BloombergBlack were not able to execute trades on the platform. Instead BloombergBlack helped clients keep track of their portfolios, and also suggested adjustments based on market shifts.

Despite Bloomberg’s exit from the wealth management market, many Wall Street banks are seeking to increase their own presence in the intensely competitive business. Wealth management is seen as a business that generates stable revenues. Morgan Stanley and Bank of New York Mellon, for example, have been growing their own wealth management units.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: