Why you should care
Because the markets are moving, and you’d better catch up.
In the financial world, great fortunes are built on a tiny edge, and the whims of the market can humble just about anyone. In the spirit of adventure — and yes, humility — we’re spotlighting innovators who are changing the way people interact with the financial sector. Whether you’re interested in real estate, launching an initial public offering, buying weed stocks or even owning your own bank, these folks are taking your money on a ride. Hop in.
Scott Picken’s global real estate marketplace Wealth Migrate allows investors in 127 countries to plunk down a minimum of $1,000 (soon to be $100, and hopefully one day just $1) in real estate — investment vehicles that were previously available only to the rich. Since going live in 2013, more than $80 million in equity has gone through the platform, and it’s facilitated $520 million in international deals. Picken, a 42-year-old South African, dreams bigger, of “closing the global wealth gap by showing the 99 percent how to invest like the 1 percent have always done.”
With a sinking gross domestic product, soaring inflation and a foreign currency crisis, financial life is far from easy in Zimbabwe. But Collen Tapfumaneyi’s innovations could help lift the country from its economic doldrums, and are fast spreading around the region. He started with Zimbabwe’s first alternative trading platform, then last year launched C-Trade, a first-for-Africa marriage of mobile, online and text message trading. By global standards, his markets are minuscule. But Tapfumaneyi is thinking far beyond his 17 million-strong homeland, as he establishes his place among the continent’s innovators with a goal of facilitating a stock market revolution: do-it-yourself public stock offerings.
For decades, Dan Ahrens has bet big on bad things like casinos, booze and cigarettes with great success. It’s almost the inverse of sustainable investing, a deadly honest assessment of humans’ proclivities. His newest venture, launching just in time for 4/20, is the first listed, active American exchange-traded fund expressly focused on making your money grow via investing in cannabis equity securities. And it comes with a genius name: YOLO. Previously a skeptic, Ahrens has seen the legal barriers to marijuana fall — and he sees a trillion-dollar market in need of smart financial instruments.
Teri Williams bought up four — yes, four — banks and rolled them together to create America’s largest Black-owned bank. It’s one of only 19 Black-owned banks, out of 5,500 privately owned banks in the country. So how did she do it? Williams lays out the steps for aspiring bankers to join the ranks of owners.
Over the past 30 years, much of Wall Street has shifted away from pen-and-paper trades to embrace digital dealings. But the $50 trillion bond market has been especially resistant to change — in part because purchasers buy through brokers, not public exchanges. The move to electronification — the industry buzzword for digital trades — is happening, whether people like it or not. And Iseult “Izzy” Conlin, 32, is at the forefront, from her fast rise at BlackRock to her current multifaceted role at trading platform Tradeweb.