Market Daily

Market Daily

The CEO Disrupting the Retail Investor Trading Industry

Charles Qi is within weeks of launching an innovative social media platform for investors. His mobile app, StockPick, will enable the global investing community to exchange information, research, and analyze stocks and cryptocurrencies via engaging videos.

A compounding interest in finance that pays off over time

Qi discovered a passion for trading early. During his final year of high school, he attended a stock market trading competition hosted by the Toronto Stock Exchange. The simulation mimicked the atmosphere of three months on the trading floor for students, with each minute representing a day. Teams had an hour and a half to place trades and manage their portfolios.

“It was fascinating to be exposed to the stock market at that age,” remembers Qi. “That experience completely altered my career objective. That was the day I decided to go into finance. I studied finance and mathematics at university and started on the trading floor right after graduation.”

Qi graduated from the University of Waterloo with undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and Business Administration. He then accepted a position at CIBC Capital Markets, Canada’s top investment bank. He then went on to earn a master’s degree in computational finance from CMU and became a Charter Financial Analyst (CFA) holder while working at CIBC. In this role, he gained over a decade of experience as an Executive Director and Quantitative Investment Strategist, overseeing over $1 billion Canadian dollars in institutional assets.

Venturing into the entrepreneurial space

“As an investment strategist, I created tailored investment strategies for institutional asset owners,” says Qi. “Fund companies used my strategies to launch mutual funds or exchange traded funds. I also created investment strategies that pension funds used as hedge fund alternatives.”

Though Qi had achieved his aspirations in the financial sector at an early age, over time, his personal drive for entrepreneurship became too strong to ignore. Gradually, he began to contemplate another path in finance — one that could open investment opportunities to everyone.

Leaving CIBC Capital Markets to launch StockPick was not an easy decision for Qi. About his choice, he says, “I have two children to think about, but my wife was extremely supportive of this move. Ultimately, I started this business for two reasons: First, I hope to help retail investors by making education accessible. Second, I see this as a huge market with the opportunity to benefit many people.”

Sharing a wealth of knowledge with the next generation of retail investors

Qi’s inspiration for StockPick came after ten years of experience on the trading floor. He watched the methodical way professional investors managed funds, but also took note of how arbitrary decisions led to unpredictable and stressful outcomes for some retail investors. “My goal is to introduce structure, reduce stress, and improve investment outcomes through education,” he says.

StockPick’s key differentiator is accessibility. While investment information is already freely available online, there are two key barriers between it and the people it is intended to help. For starters, investing information is difficult to find. Video content is scattered across social media platforms primarily dedicated to entertainment, such as TikTok and YouTube. To access it, people need to know what they’re searching for and then dig for it, then bring that knowledge to platforms where they can make their investments

Second, while sites such as Motley Fool and TheStreet gather financial resources in one central location, the information is not easily digestible for today’s audience; Millennials and Gen Zs tend to consume information in the form of videos and images. “I am setting out to build the first online hub for engaging, short-form videos,” explains Qi. “When people watch videos, they take in information much quicker than reading. Our videos establish a connection between presenters and viewers, enabling us to form a worldwide community for investors.”

A platform for all levels of retail investors

Beginners can dip their toe into the investing pool with StockPick’s easy-to-understand videos answering questions such as “What is the stock market?” or “Where should I begin?” For experienced investors, videos dive into the analysis of specific stocks or cryptocurrencies.

Stock tickers embedded in the app offer in-depth analysis of the securities mentioned in each video. “Our content is always actionable,” Qi remarks. “Each video is a buy or sell recommendation for a specific stock or cryptocurrency.”

Additionally, interactive voting allows viewers to participate by labeling the security up for discussion as either “bull” or “bear.” “Viewers see what other people think about the company or digital token in the moment,” comments Qi. “They can also watch how sentiment changes as time passes. You can stay in the loop and take the community’s pulse on assets that most interest you.”

External testers and content creators are beta testing Qi’s platform through the summer, with StockPick’s launch slated for early Fall of 2022. Interested investors can join the waitlist, view the app’s promotional video, and earn rewards for referring friends. 

Opinions expressed by Market Daily contributors are their own.