How Technology is Changing Retail Investor Access to Information


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Last year, the big story in retail investing was the emergence of “meme stocks.” Encouraged by self-appointed trading gurus on Reddit and YouTube, a mob of investors “squeezed” big hedge funds that had large short positions in stocks like Gamestop (GME) and AMC Entertainment (AMC).

As these stocks fell back to earth, and as millions of day traders have returned to the office, retail stock trading on apps like Robinhood has plummeted. Now, an innovative investing app is hoping to revive interest in responsible investing, without the mob mentality. 

Educating with retail investors through a modern medium

StockPick is the brainchild of Charles Qi, formerly a quantitative investment strategist at CIBC Capital Markets. Qi, who holds a CFA, noticed that a new breed of retail investors was getting into the stock market earlier, but eschewing traditional sources of information like newspapers and investing newsletters. Instead, retail investors were turning from text-based media to video. According to an Investopedia survey, YouTube is now the go-to for Gen Z investors. Of this group, nearly half went to the video-sharing giant for investing advice, followed by “conversations with friends and family” and TikTok videos.

Qi is not surprised that younger investors are drawn to video. “Most investment and trading tips are in the form of long articles and complex data,” he says. “With StockPick, you can curate a video feed and learn investing in a few minutes a day.”

Many experts say the meme stock phenomenon got the idea — that is, democratizing investing — right, but social media sites trend towards showing users the most outrageous and popular content, rather than the best informed. This can result in a herd mentality, and one that worked well in the early days of the meme stock mania, but the stampede quickly reversed itself. Qi says that StockPick’s mission is to make investing education accessible to everyone, ultimately resulting in investors making more informed decisions and ideally more rational markets.

“When people feel more knowledgeable, they tend to be more confident in their investing decisions,” Qi says, meaning that they are far more likely to see their investments through, rather than panicking if a stock goes down over a short period of time. Similar to YouTube, StockPick’s video-based content is designed to help people who have no background in investing find content. 

The key difference, however, is that StockPick is focused is on serving up reliable content, rather than whatever happens to be trending at the moment. Thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning, the content StockPick shows to users will only become more relevant, as StockPick learns alongside its users.

“One of the most exciting and useful features is that you can tailor StockPick based on your interests,” explains Qi. “Our content feed is driven by AI and shows you videos based on your past likes, shares, and comments. Over time, the feed becomes much more specific to you, making your investing time much more efficient. Given that there are more than 8,000 stocks trading on US exchanges alone, that’s very important.”

Making trustworthy investing information accessible to everyone

Along with StockPick being entirely video-based, its algorithms are designed to filter out promoters and other potentially-biased or unvalidated information. In other words, Qi has designed an app that encourages sharing insights rather than seeking self-promotion; anyone can create and monetize content, but experts are verified. And sharing has been made remarkably easy. Slides can be added directly to the app, enabling informative “slide deck” presentations that one might expect from an investment banker. Videos can be as involved or simple as the creator wants. Qi says that anyone can create a video “fairly quickly” and with no previous experience.

Of course, an important component of retail investing in the modern world is the opportunity for interaction and community. Stock tickers are embedded directly into the StockPick interface, so viewers can follow the stock being discussed in real time. They can also vote “bullish” or “bearish” on any stock or video by swiping right or left, and the app automatically aggregates all of that input so members can see what the entire investing community is thinking.

If you’re interested in being a part of the future of retail investing, you can sign up to join StockPick’s waitlist here.

By lita