DIGITAL INVESTMENT

USING THE INTERNET TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL INVESTOR

Today's investment should be modern, affordable, flexible, uncomplicated, convenient, innovative, fast and, above all, profitable. Investing seems like child's play and there is no limit to financial knowledge. Small investors can now benefit from expert knowledge via the Internet to an equal extent as wealthy investors once profited from investment advisory. 


POSSIBLE WAYS OF GATHERING INFORMATION FOR FINANCIAL INVESTMENTS 

Doing research on the Internet is easy. Comparison sites readily allow comparing investment products and credit offers. No one is forced to go from one bank branch to another to find the best overnight deposit account or to spend hours searching for new investment products in newspapers and magazines. Anyone has free access to data and can easily compare investment products. At the same time, the offers are specially designed to save the customer’s time and money. However, digitization not only enables comparing or purchasing traditional financial products, it also creates new investment opportunities.

Nowadays, financial service providers and banks are no longer explaining the investment world. A young financial industry has emerged that is now questioning alleged certainties. The so-called fintechs (startups in the financial technology sector) cover the investment market and are also active as payment service providers, account providers and lenders or more specifically: insurance intermediaries. Online banking and online brokerage have been around for quite some time. Social Trading, Robo Advisors and Crowdinvesting have been established in Germany for five to seven years. 


DIGITAL INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES 

The Internet has opened doors to new investment trends. Investors can invest electronically in all asset classes: stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, and mixed investments through Robo Advisors, as well as on social investment platforms. On the one hand, investors can benefit from the trend of digitization, purchasing traditional investment products, on the other hand, the Internet offers new, interesting investments, such as investments in cryptocurrencies, cryptocurrency markets or the Blockchain technology. 

Investors can invest their money in startup companies, existing real estate, real estate development projects or consumer loans (crowdlending). The Internet technology leads to a variety of offers that seemed inconceivable just a few years ago. Ten years ago, closed-end investment funds for wealthy investors and open-ended real estate funds for retail investors were the only way to participate in the profits of value-stable real estate investments. In 2018, not only subordinated loans for real estate investors will be offered on the crowdinvesting platforms, but also real estate financing through crowd bonds. 


WHAT POTENTIAL IS HARBORED BY THE DIGITAL INVESTMENT WORLD? 

In the financial industry itself, new unforeseen perspectives are opening up. Investment has never been so affordable than they are now. At the same time, there is a trend to better regulate the digital investment market, erode the bad image of the gray capital market, and give fintechs more security. Investors only need a PC, tablet or smartphone to find lucrative investment opportunities through the internet. A digital investment opens up the possibility to let machines and formulas decide on the composition of the investment. This means no more dealing with obstructing human emotions. 

Great development opportunities lie in the online asset management by means of "investment robot" (Robo Advisor). Investment robots relieve customers from the hardest part of investing: deciding which investment looks most promising. Interested parties only need to answer a few questions about their willingness to take risks in the investment field. After opening a Deposit Account on the web, investors can transfer their money to the respective provider. Selection, investment, and risk management are largely done by algorithms, programs, and scientific analysis or portfolio theory. Those corporate services are far less costly than a traditional human asset manager. In addition, private investors, especially beginners, can participate in investment strategies and product selection by professional investors or experienced experts by tracking their transactions on social investment platforms and replicating the process with their own money. For example, private investors are gradually becoming pro-investors by attending an investing webinar or making their own trading experience. 


A DIGITAL INVESTMENT BRINGS THE FOLLOWING ADVANTAGES: 

  • Account or deposit opening and advice by phone, mail or video from home or conveniently on the go
  • Contact persons will answer questions around the clock
  • Investors usually know in which investments they are allowed to invest capital
  • No hidden costs
  • Returns and conditions for investments are transparent and therefore comparable
  • Small investors can access suitable Investment products
  • Good diversification chance ist possible due to low minimum investment amounts
  • Digitization reduces costs and leads to less complexity in financial products

Nevertheless, the awareness of Fintechs and investment opportunities via the Internet can be further increased, so that the investment volume in digital financial products can grow disproportionately in the next few years. 


WHAT ARE THE RISKS? 

The use of technology can lead to risks that have previously received little attention from the investors. Data misuse, data breaches or aggressive advertising strategies due to the "transparent customer" are a real danger in the digital world. If funds are misappropriated or investment programs and algorithms are wrong, capital losses can be high. For example, digital asset managers who are focussing exclusively on equities have not yet been exposed to a global crisis with prices falling over a longer period of time. 

Incorrect advice and insufficient risk education or inadequate determination of personal risk tolerance may also lead to investors acquiring inappropriate investments for themselves. There is a great danger that customers will underestimate the risks of these investments due to the simplicity of the digital installation and its ready availability. Investors should be well informed about the impact of digital investment risks, just as they inform themselves about the risks of traditional investments. 


CONCLUSION 

Nowadays, online knowledge about financial products and their terms and conditions is infinitely available worldwide. The traditional banks and financial providers are in competition with innovative fintech companies, which creates transparency for financial instruments. Digital investments thus have lower costs than traditional investment products. From a technological point of view, there are no limits to making it easier for customers to access investments and to offer understandable services. Whether the huge potential can be fully exploited, will ultimately depend on how the fintechs manage to build a similar level of trust in their relationship with their clients as the traditional banks.