Investors Unite!

Broker Bashing Gains Steam in More Ads From Online Investing Firms

By Published on .

Few marketers have an easier time riffing off rampant outrage at Wall Street than do-it-yourself online investment outfits.

Scottrade's new campaign, which launched this month, portrayed stockbrokers as useless dunces who were too busy lounging in limousines to provide anything of value to clients.

The same sentiment drives an online video from a new entrant into the space, Hedgeye, which until this week was available only to institutional investors. The video stars comedian T.J. Miller as a frustrated significant other attempting to break up with his broker, who sounds like a Fiji-vacationing, Mazerati-driving dead ringer for Scottrade's character.

The populist, anti-Wall Street tone seems right for the times, given the political enthusiasm for aggressive taxation of big banks that remains prevalent, but in Hedgeye's case, it comes from an unlikely source. The company's CEO, Keith McCullough, is a former hedge-fund manager, who was a portfolio manager for the Carlyle Group's Blue Wave unit until he was fired in 2007 (for calling the market's crash too early).

The irony isn't lost on Mr. McCullough, who, by the way, is poised to become the next owner of the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes. He says his site delivers the sort of real-time information he got as a fund manager, as opposed to days-later communications from a broker.

"If he's making more money than you, that's OK to a point," he said. "But when they're making more money than you and you don't know what they're doing, it's a problem."

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