A New Financial Industry Ratings Service


The latest online ratings service to enter the fold launched late last month. Financialjoe.com is an Internet platform that enables investors to collaboratively monitor the services they receive from financial advisors and their firms.

To collect the ratings information, financialjoe.com asks users to complete an online questionnaire containing 18 questions related to the service they receive by their financial advisors. This enables other investors who also work with those financial advisors to learn this feedback. Custom pages store specified advisor and firms for users to regularly monitor. If a client is treated in an unethical manner by an advisor, that client can access his "My Advisors" page and change the rating for his advisor. Investors who share that advisor are immediately notified through internal and external email.

Financialjoe.com is promoting the service as a new tool that enables individual investors to communicate with each other and expose financial advisors or brokerage firms that provide poor service or practice unethically.

With an influx of online ratings services on the Web, it's no surprise that a service would target financial advisors specifically. Nearly all services providers have been impacted by the existence of online ratings. Financialjoe.com is also taking advantage of another Internet-driven service, social networking, to drive its new launch, which is an innovative twist. However, as with all ratings services, the buyer must still be aware. Other users can't be absolutely convinced that all ratings are legitimate; that they haven't been created by friends of an advisor. So, users can't totally rely on the information they receive through financialjoe.com. It will be interesting to see if financialjoe.com can survive in the marketplace--it certainly needs a high-profile marketing campaign to promote its wares. If not, financialjoe.com could be an interesting offering for a finance-related organization that wants to offer financialjoe.com data as a value-added service. This tool should have a decent shelf life, regardless of who decides to use it.

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