September 22, 2010
The recession has made savers of more Americans, but to build assets and secure their financial futures, they also need to become investors. And, they need innovative options to help them do that.
That's the message to policymakers and entrepreneurs from Gratio Capital co-founder Rimmy Malhotra, speaking today from the 2010 Assets Learning Conference hosted by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED). CFED named Malhotra a 2010 Innovative Idea Champion. Gratio Capital is a San Francisco-based asset management company spearheading a movement to provide all consumers, regardless of investing know-how, with access to simple and affordable tools that will help them build toward their financial goals.
According to Malhotra, traditional investing products have failed the mainstream consumer. "Unfortunately, many consumers taking steps to save and grow their money feel their financial goals are beyond their reach. Retirement accounts, the high cost of home ownership - and for many, the difficulty of securing a loan - and savings accounts with low return rates leave Americans with options that are too few and too limited. While the stock market has been volatile recently, history shows the greatest opportunities for financial gain remain in the capital markets. But the minimum capital and knowledge required by traditional mutual funds leaves millions of consumers on the sidelines. These consumers deserve more and better options."
Americans are saving more in 2010 than they did last year, and fewer are relying on credit cards,(1) but the majority of Americans still struggle with building assets and planning for the future. More than 26 percent of U.S. households could not subsist at the poverty level for three months should they lose their incomes.(2) Only 34 percent of Americans feel they have an adequate personal safety net - in the form or cash or retirement savings or health, auto or life insurance coverage - to weather unexpected crises.(3) Forty-five percent report concerns about "making ends meet" keep them up at night.(4)
"Investing remains one of the best ways to build wealth over time, to really grow your money, and we think anyone with as little as $25 and a desire to invest should have the opportunity to become an investor," said Malhotra. "That's why we developed GoalMine."
Gratio Capital was founded by a team of executives with deep financial industry experience and a dedication to expanding access to financial services. Prior to launching Gratio Capital, Chief Investment Officer Rimmy Malhotra worked as an investment analyst at a New York-based hedge fund. He also headed the North American Infrastructure Group at The Citigroup Private Bank covering operations across the Americas. A committed public servant, Mr. Malhotra served for three years as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Central America and was named a finalist for the White House Fellows Program in 2004. Co-founder and COO Yaron Ben-Zvi has extensive experience helping build and grow early stage organizations. Most recently, he was Director of Client Services with marketing research and consulting firm Nielsen BuzzMetrics (now part of Nielsen Online).
Former SEC Commissioner Roel Campos joined the Gratio Capital Advisory Board in September 2010. Mr. Campos is a former member of President Obama's Transition Team Economic Advisory Board. In 2009, Gratio Capital joined the investment portfolio of MPOWER Ventures, a socially committed venture fund founded by prepaid debit industry pioneers Roy Sosa and Bertrand Sosa to invest in companies whose innovations benefit the underserved.
"The prepaid debit industry is witnessing exponential global growth fueled by a simple proposition - that it's possible to bring entirely new segments of consumers into the financial mainstream by delivering financial services through online and retail channels," said Bertrand Sosa, founder, MPOWER Ventures and member of Gratio Capital's board of directors. "We think GoalMine and the Gratio Capital team have the potential to do the same thing for investing and asset building products."
Gratio Capital will introduce a groundbreaking investment product, GoalMine, to the public this fall. Currently in private beta, GoalMine gives all consumers, regardless of investing knowledge or income level, a simple and affordable way to build towards their financial goals. With accounts starting at $25, simple-to-understand investment advice, social fundraising tools and an innovative "gift card" model, GoalMine gives everyone the opportunity to invest for the future.
For more information on GoalMine or to request an invitation to participate in the public beta program, go to www.goalmine.com. For updates on the GoalMine beta, visit blog.goalmine.com.