Ready for the next new investing start-up idea? It’s “customer stock ownership plans” from Loyal3. Basically, companies encourage consumers to buy shares of their stock with only three clicks of the mouse, in the hopes that this will ownership will garner loyalty (get it?) and thus higher sales. Think Apple, where shareholders of AAPL are more likely to buy MacBooks. [Via Bits]
You’ll be able to buy in increments of as little as $10 via fractional shares, all with no transaction fees at all (they’re covered by the company). Loyal3 hasn’t actually announced the stocks available, but one would guess they’d be brand name makers of consumer goods like clothing, electronics, or food.
My initial impression is lukewarm. Sounds like an easier version of DRIPs. But the stocks will be likely limited to visible brand names, so it won’t really provide investors with actual diversification. Otherwise, I can’t think of any brand I like that much. I have a hard time being emotionally attached to a corporation. The one thing I do like is that they promote individual shareholder activism, which can keep management on their toes.
The other thing that caught my eye was the fact that they accepted credit cards for the stock purchases. Given their “no fees whatsoever” mantra, without fees this means you can get cash back/points/miles from your stocks purchases, kind of like getting a commission instead of paying it :). (The most you can invest per company is $2,500 a month.) Stocks are likely too volatile to easily profit from this, but perhaps someone can figure out a way to take advantage of this feature.