最有看点的互联网金融门户

最有看点的互联网金融门户
国际资讯

雅虎要变身金融科技公司了吗?

昔日最大门户网站雅虎的分支雅虎金融现在是美国月流量最大的新闻网站。通过合作关系,雅虎金融深耕金融行业,其app未来将提供直接中介服务。这一趋势可能会成为该行业的未来趋势。

Fintech主要指像SoFi、TransferWise和Revolut这样的公司,他们旨在利用科技挑战传统银行。雅虎金融所做的则有所不同:其App将在线中介服务商如Fidelity和E-Trade加至该平台但自己不收取任何中介费用。雅虎金融(现为Verizon控股公司Oath一部分)想要的是增加APP使用量。目前其拥有4100万移动用户。

雅虎金融产品主管Michael La Guardia表示,该平台的目标用户是长期投资者,可免费获得的金融信息比从彭博杂志终端更多。他说雅虎金融和中介服务商已有许多联系,因为后者是他们平台上主要广告投放者。

La Guardia拒绝透露后续具体信息,但和在线中介商的合作可以开启一些有趣的可能。比如亚马逊是分销商,但它也卖自己品牌的产品,比如电池和笔记本电脑套。

当然金融界没有那么简单。银行类行为受到严格管理,而且仅仅开展此类业务就需要持有许多资本(现金)。但可能性依然存在--支付宝意外之下建立了几乎是全球最大的货币市场基金,让用户在移动支付外能够存放资金。亚马逊则向平台上的商户提供信贷,根据WEF(世界经济论坛)数据已贷出30亿美元。脸书计划让其App能做任何事,包括金融活动,而腾讯的微信在许多方面已然如此。

数据方面(可能是现在世界上最重要的商品)。雅虎金融拥有许多数据,而且是那种对冲基金愿意花高价获取以评估市场情绪和交易意图的数据。La Guardia说有人就这方面和他接触过,但他选择对此保持谨慎。他说雅虎金融考虑的是如何让其收集的数据对用户更有用,而非开始一项新业务。

目前,雅虎金融主要将只是获得金融服务的中间通道。但即使是这样一个模式最终也将威胁传统银行,WEF项目经理Jesse McWaters如是说。如果客户联系(即界面)由科技公司接管,那银行就很难交叉销售其他产品。这种模式也更易使银行沦为公用事业单位,只能在价格上竞争。如今的时代比价十分容易,规模是最重要的,因为作为第二便宜的选择很难吸引客户。

人们通常认为风险资本支持的创企会带来"颠覆",但有时惊喜来源于被忽视的地方。Netflix从邮件DVD业务扩展到视频播放再到自己制作电影。也许下一个惊喜来自靠搜索和电邮起家已有几十年之久的门户网站最终进入金融服务业。

Yahoo Finance, a division of the once dominant eponymous web portal, is the largest business news website in the US by monthly traffic. Now, it’s becoming more enmeshed in the business of finance through a partnership that will offer brokerage services directly via the Yahoo Finance app—a strategy that could be a sign of things to come for the rest of the industry.

Fintech generally refers to companies like SoFi, TransferWise, and Revolut, whose ambition is to use technology to challenge traditional banks. What Yahoo Finance is doing is a little different—its app will add online brokers like Fidelity and E-Trade to its platform, but it won’t make any money from the brokerage charges. Instead, Yahoo Finance (now part of Oath, a Verizon-owned company), which has about 41 million mobile users, is trying to boost usage of its app.

The platform is targeted at devoted investors and provides more financial data for free than you can get outside of a Bloomberg terminal, according to Michael La Guardia, Yahoo Finance’s head of product. He says the company already had a lot of overlap with brokers since they’re among its major advertisers.

La Guardia declined to detail what’s coming next, but the partnership with online brokerages raises some interesting possibilities. Amazon, for example, is a distributor for other companies’ products, but it also sells its own wares, from batteries to laptop cases.

Of course, that’s not so easy in the financial world. Banking-type activities are heavily regulated and can require a heavy dose of capital (cash) holdings just to operate. But it happens—Alipay almost accidentally started the world’s biggest money market fund (paywall) when it gave users a way to park their money from mobile payments. Amazon, meanwhile, offers credit to its merchants and has made more than $3 billion of loans, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). Facebook has ambitions for its app to do just about everything, including financial activities. Tencent’s WeChat in many ways already does.

And there’s the data—arguably the world’s most important commodity now. Yahoo Finance is sitting on a lot of it, and it’s the type of information hedge funds pay a lot for to help gauge sentiment and trading intentions. La Guardia said he’s had those types of conversations, but is cautious about it. Rather than starting a new business, he says Yahoo Finance is thinking about how to the make the data it gathers more useful for its users.

For now, Yahoo Finance will mainly be a conduit for financial services. But even that that type of model can eventually present risks for traditional banks, according to Jesse McWaters, a project lead at the WEF. If contact with customers (the interface) is taken over by technology firms, it becomes more difficult for banks to cross-sell their other products. It could also make banks vulnerable to becoming even more like utilities, unable to compete on much more than price. In such a world, where prices are easy to compare, size is almost all that matters, since being the second-cheapest option will do little lure customers.

People usually think about “disruption” coming from upstarts funded by venture capital, but sometimes surprises come from less obvious places. Netflix made the leap from DVDs-by-mail to streaming video to making its own movies. Maybe the next surprise could come from a decades-old web portal built on search and email that ends up in the financial services industry.


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