KaChing, a Tardian technology?

October 19, 2009

This article in the NYTimes discusses a site called KaChing [here].  It’s an online service that combines investment management information with social networking properties .  Users manipulate virtual portfolios as a means of gaining insights into and advice about how markets work. Today, the site will add a new feature that allows users to peg and copy expert trades.

Customers can set up brokerage accounts that automatically mirror the trades of a money manager, some of them professionals. […] Each time the investors make a trade, KaChing will automatically make the same trades for the customer.

KaChing’s founders claim that allowing expert trades to become this transparent is a unique form of information sharing.

“The idea of an asset manager showing all his research, his holdings — it’s unheard-of,” said Mr. Carroll, now 27 and the vice president for business development at KaChing. “In the financial industry, the idea is that information is currency; they protect it with their lives.”

This raises questions about what exactly it means to share information:  Isn’t knowing a trade – that is, the moves an investor makes – different from knowing the reasons for the trade?  And if there are, indeed, different modalities of information sharing, what would be the differences in the types of networks/economic agents these would produce? I find myself searching my bookshelf for Gabriel Tarde’s The Laws of Imitation (Les lois de l’imitation)

4 Responses to “KaChing, a Tardian technology?”

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  3. Sounds promising. Anyone has hands on experience or?

  4. furrybeasty Says:

    The Biz Dev VP at Ka-Ching is gushing a bit too much – seems like he’s trying to imply that the service is unlocking the “Trading Secrets of the Masters” against their wishes. Nothing could be further from the truth. An early experience as a salesperson on a fixed income trading desk taught me this – my boss came by with a carefully written exposition on an arcane futures/physical bonds carry trade arbitrage opportunity and insisted I share this with all my clients. I asked if that wouldn’t collapse the opportunity as everyone rushed in, to which he grinned and said yes, but in doing so it would speed up the opportunity for us to close the position WE HAD ALREADY PUT ON and collect our profit.
    I suspect Ka-Ching’s virtue lies less in the uncovering of secrets the professional managers are trying to hide, and more in advancing the technology by which they can attract “follower capital” to drive pricing in the direction of their positions.

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