Have Reddit and Robinhood changed investment forever?
What's the issue?
The biggest investment story of 2021 has been the extraordinary tale of GameStop – and how the American video games retailer's shares shot up thanks to posters on the online forum Reddit and users of the Robinhood trading app.
Billed as a victory for the little investor against the world's giant hedge funds, it made headlines around the world – and also made some people a lot of money.
But has it really changed anything about the nature of investing long term? Expert analyst Arturo Bris joins The Agenda with Stephen Cole to explain why it might, in fact, have changed the entire ecosystem.
Meet the expert
Arturo Bris is a professor of finance at Geneva's International Institute of Management Development and leader of the organization's World Competitiveness Center.
Before that, he was associate professor of corporate finance at the Yale School of Management.
His research and consulting activities focus on the international aspects of financial regulation, and in particular on the effects of bankruptcy, short sales, insider trading and merger laws.
What does Bris say?
The GameStop story could be a real tipping point in the nature of who really drives the stock market, Bris tells Stephen Cole.
"For the first time in the GameStop episode, individual retail investor had the same market power [as the international hedge funds]," he says. "And that, I think, will shake the foundations of financial markets.
"What this episode shows is that technology can create a new financial system, through information sharing and allowing individuals to coordinate their work, giving market power to individual investors, which is to me a new order.
"Financial markets were once oligopolies in which retail investors had no impact whatsoever on trade. Now that's changed."
The key lesson from the GameStop episode, Bris tells The Agenda, is that it's brought financial markets into line with other industries.
"Now we have players, particularly technology players, that are a very important part of the financial market – online brokers, social networks and social platforms. They can help to make the market more efficient."
However, he says the traditional big hitters may be looking to fight back and regain their primacy by calling for new regulations. "We would probably need different rules because the rules that apply to the traditional financial institution cannot apply to a new financial institution called Reddit or Robinhood."
Also on the The Agenda:
Moira O'Neill, head of personal finance at Interactive Investor explains why ethical investment is a trend that's here to stay, and which sectors we should be watching for a decent return in a post-pandemic world.
Of course bricks and mortar has always been something of a safe haven investment – but is that still the case in 2021? Uma Rajah, CEO and co-founder of property investment firm CapitalRise, gives us an insider's view.
Stephen Cole also looks at some of the perhaps more alternative investment opportunities out there – and finds out from Dominic Brennan, director of Noble Rot Fine Wine why a good Bordeaux or a fine Burgundy are much more than just a tasty tipple.