Besides being the juggernaut of investment banking, JPMorgan hides other tricks up its sleeve, designed to suit retail traders’ aptitudes for day trading stints and FOMO initiatives. The bank calls this self-directed investing, but we all know what it means. With this Wall Street stalwart, you can get exposure to stocks, ETFs, mutual funds and even options. Crypto? We’ll have to wait a bit before we can see meme coins sit next to Amazon shares and Walmart equity. But there is some silver lining – long-reigning chief Jamie Dimon’s nuanced relationship with digital assets has been warming, except for when he calls crypto ‘a Ponzi.’
Bank of America is a top-tier investment bank but also a brokerage house that caters to the retail traders among us. If you’re looking to manage your own money (in this economy?), you can do so with Bank of America’s Merrill Edge – a subsidiary that allows individual market participants to make their own investment decisions wreck their own portfolio. The bank’s financial performance in and of itself hasn’t been truly outstanding. In 2022, the bear market pressured BofA’s stock lower by about 20%, as the Wall Street lender underwent some belt-tightening to contain third-quarter profit decline to just 8%, at $7.1bn, from the year-ago quarter.
Wells Fargo is a well-known name amid Wall Street pros for its continued profitability, and a “too big to fail” attitude even after it settled over $3bn in fines for sugarcoating mortgage-backed securities in the lead up to the 2008 financial crisis. As the world of finance became the retail traders’ playground (or battleground, depending on whom you ask), Wells Fargo did take notes and unfurled a rich brokerage platform that hosts stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and forex. The investment bank and brokerage house has been keeping up better than some rivals amid the harsh conditions of 2022 with a stock down single digits throughout the year.
Morgan Stanley, a Wall St. player with a nearly 100-year legacy, aims to snatch more of the retail trading purists. That’s after covid arrived and a torrent of stay-at-home millennials and Gen Z’s flooded every corner of the financial markets. Morgan Stanley took notice and in 2020 it closed the acquisition of E*TRADE – a large online broker that serves all types of investors. Even crypto enthusiasts – Morgan Stanley’s E*TRADE offers indirect exposure to digital assets through some securities and futures. Anyhow, the banking giant is worth roughly $150bn and its stock has been fairly steady recently, down about 15% from its all-time high.
US broker and investments group Charles Schwab styles itself as an all-in-one trading platform suited for the everyday investor. From stocks to options and even a crypto thematic ETF with indirect exposure to digital assets, you can easily get your head spinning, especially if you’re the eight-monitors-setup type. Charles Schwab got a lot of attention during the covid times when people (i.e. stimulus-fueled Reddit geeks and investing enthusiasts) were confined to their homes and there were $0 online trades available. Stock-wise, Charles Schwab, worth above $150bn, charted the 2022 bear market notably well – its shares were down single digits.
Citigroup puts out trading services that pretty much cover the spectrum – from institutions with billions in assets, to the retail market enthusiast down in New Jersey, who’s rotating his portfolio from $GME into $AMC. Thanks to Citi’s Self Invest platform, introduced in mid-2021, you can personally manage your account, instead of letting someone else get the fun out of it. Otherwise, Citigroup, as a US-listed banking stock, has been dragged down by the persistent bear market pressure, sending shares down about one-fifth over the bigger part of 2022. The firm picked up $17.2bn in 3Q22 revenue, while profit fell 27% from a year ago to $3.18bn.
Brace yourself as we go back to old-age banking with this one. U.S. Bancorp was founded in 1863 – so old Abraham Lincoln probably went to complain about getting ripped off by fees. Today, the banking stalwart handles more than $150bn in assets, serving both institutional investors as well as retail traders. Bancorp’s DIY investing platform is self-directed and offers access to those traditional portfolio fillers we all know too well – stocks, options, ETFs, and mutual funds. Not much excitement? Give it some time. The bank launched crypto custody services for pro money managers in late 2021 after strong demand basically pushed them to do it.
PNC Financial Services Group is a US lender, investment bank, and a retail-oriented broker that offers online trading across stocks, bonds, ETFs, and mutual funds. PNC’s stock has struggled, much like rivals, and is down by about one-fifth over the past year. This is after the end of easy-money policies shattered the ‘everything rally’ that swept financial markets in 2021. What’s more, the Pittsburgh-based bank is slashing as many as 45 branches in the US in early 2023 as part of the firm’s consolidating footprint in its homeland. Other than that, PNC is among the largest asset managers, overseeing about $450bn at a $70bn valuation.
Interactive Brokers is a US-based retail trading platform that rose to fame during the GameStop movement when scores of Reddit investors strategized their next big bet. It’s all fine and dandy until the tide turns and those Interactive Brokers users get phased out of the market and ultimately scoot off of the trading platform. That’s one of the concerns the firm had back in the heat of 2021’s moon trips. Despite the pullback in stocks beloved by retail traders, Interactive Brokers remains one of the largest trading houses to play the game – it oversees about $350bn in customer funds and has enjoyed growing revenue, hitting $2.71bn in 2021.
If only there was a sign of the excess that swept stock valuations… Cue the drum roll… Coinbase might never erase its thud landing after a highly-anticipated IPO gave the crypto exchange an $86bn price tag and many remorseful debut-day buyers. “We like Coinbase to $475” stock-evangelist Jim Cramer bragged complacently on Twitter after Coinbase hit the Nasdaq at $381 a share. Let that sink in. It did sink pretty good. Shares of the Brian Armstrong-led company got demolished out there. It's as if Warren Buffett was on the other end trying to prove a point. Coinbase shares are barely flickering after an 86% markdown and many dented portfolios.
Ally Financial is a bank holding company that offers a flurry of financial solutions, including investing, home and auto loans, and some brokerage services for the DIY investors. The US-based firm lost about half of its valuation throughout 2022. Even a bet from investment legend Warren Buffett wasn’t enough to stop the prolonged slump. In the end of June 2022, the Oracle of Omaha tripled his stake in Ally to a $1bn valuation, or about a 10% ownership. Nowadays, the lender’s stock chugs along at about $25 a share, collectively worth under $8bn. It's not too bad – Ally hit an all-time low of just under $12 apiece in early 2020.
Robinhood is the leading retail broker that onboarded the majority of those revenge-fueled trading armies converging on Reddit to pick their next rocket ship. That is, until those stratospheric gains in GameStop and the likes got washed away when Ken Griffin and its ilk took back control. What was left was a battleground of hurt first-time investors who initially benefited from the ‘stimmy’ and got sucked into a drifty speculation-turned-craze. Robinhood’s glorious days seem a thing of the past now. If the California-based broker added 10m accounts in 2021, there were only 60,000 newcomers wandering the platform in the third-quarter of 2022.
SoFi Technologies, formerly known as Social Finance, got in the limelight after its public debut on the Nasdaq in June 2021 when the fintech firm merged with Social Capital Hedosophia Corp V, a blank-check company run by VC guru and Spac king Chamath Palihapitiya. Besides a more traditional day-to-day biz such as online loans and banking services, SoFi is also involved with some of that hot day-trading stuff, offering online investing, but only in a fairly small selection of assets – it’s mostly stocks. Judging by the company’s share performance, SoFi is a heavily shorted stock, with its price down more than 70% over the past year.