New ventures that combine social networking and personal finance are starting to to take off, and the latest local example is financialjoe.com.
After spending 10 years in the financial industry, Shawn Tierney was unsatisfied with the quality of information people have about their investment advisors. As a former insider, he should know. Tierney worked as a financial planner for Morgan Stanley and Bank of America.
"An advisor can get away with not servicing his clients, making poor recommendations, or never calling the client again once he makes the commission," Tierney said. "This is because no one else will ever know."
Tierney, along with his brother James Tierney and former Microsoft employees Richard Gerschwiler and John Pezzanite, started financialjoe.com as a place for people to rate their advisors, find people with the same advisor and share information about financial issues. The site launched just two weeks ago.
Users can identify themselves with tags to their advisor, joining online public forums with that advisor and other clients. Clients' names and emails are kept confidential.
Today, the forums had information about regulatory actions against Ameriprise, student loan woes and a conversation about mutual funds. Users get an email message every time a new rating is posted on their advisor.
The site can help investment firms, too, Tierney says, by providing feedback on their advisors, helping them improve customer satisfaction and avoid losing clients.
Avvo offers a similar service but for rating attorneys. "Avvo's great," said Tierney, but people are going to need financial advice much more often than they'll need a good lawyer.
A few other social networking / finance hybrids to check out are wesabe.com, Geezeo.com, and covestor.com.