Ask any stock broker or financial professional and they’ll tell you that investing money in the stock market can be risky. Unless you stick with extremely safe and extremely boring blue chip stocks (of which there are few), your money has the potential to disappear in the matter of months, weeks or even days. Rather than take on the market by yourself, you may want to consider investing with a professional but the immediate downside is that a high percentage fee can be charged, simply for advice. Covestor.com came along with the idea to provide expert advice, at a minimal fee. Truth be told, I had never head of Covestor until a friend of mine mentioned that he was making money trading stocks AND making money from people following his advice. That statement alone peaked my interest and I decided to give them a thorough look at how they operate. First, the basics.
Covestor.com offers both experienced investors and amateurs an opportunity to make money. If you’re an investor who is confident that your method is working, you can choose to sign-up at Covestor.com and allow others to mirror your every move. That means when you make a trade, your followers automatically make a trade and depending on just how good you are and how much you decide to invest, you can charge up to $1,250 per account (per year) that follows your movements. The minimum amount you’ll receive for each follower is $12.50, and the varying difference depends on how large your portfolio and how frequently you trade.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re the one looking for advice, you can sign up for a Covestor mirror account, which is linked with the investor you request. Before choosing an investor, you can view their success and performance over the last 12 months and decide which investor you would like to mirror. In addition every portfolio is given a risk factor which you can view to mean safe or extremely volatile. Once you’ve chosen an investor, the trades they make will automatically be made in your account and each trade will be brokered through InteractiveBrokers.com. Trades made will cost $0.005 per share, minimum $1, so the easy way to figure that out is the commission cost is $1 for every 200 shares traded. By far, the cheapest of all online discount brokers available today, if you’re not trading more than 800 shares in an average trade.
With the meat and potatoes out of the way, you might be wondering just how safe and secure your money is with Covestor. I mean, what’s to stop someone from making an absurd trade with your money, only for you to lose hundreds if not thousands on something ridiculous. For starters, the investor must invest his own money in the portfolio, so it would not be wise for them to make a poor decision with their own money. In addition, Covestor has created a strict set of rules to make sure that all investors are protected so you can rest assured your money is safe and secured.
Signing up for a Covestor account is easy and only takes a few minutes. The basic personal information is required and after you’ve completed your application, you will need to complete an InteractiveBrokers.com account as well. Once you have that taken care of you’re all set to open a portfolio with Covestor. The interface is very friendly and easy to use and rather than risk your money right away, Covestor offers all users a 90-day free trial to test out their mirror account. You’ll be provided $100,000 in virtual currency to mirror an investing professional of your choice and if after 90-days you’re ready for the real thing, all that’s left for you is to make a deposit. (Minimum portfolio amount to be traded is $10,000).
To become an expert that can charge fees for followers, you must provide Covestor with information from your previous stock trading experience as well as other details, so you can bet only those with experience will be accepted. All in all, Covestor combines the complex world of investing with a friendly spin that could make you thousands of dollars, even if you have no idea how to successfully trade stocks. The amount you are charged is a fraction of what you would pay a professional outside of Covestor and if you can handle allowing others to make the decision to buy and sell OR want to earn money for showing others how to do it, consider signing up for a Covestor.com account.
Published or updated May 29, 2011.