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The Cheap New Trend in Investing

How cheap can investing get? We're about to find out.A new brokerage site will allow individual investors to build big research-driven stock portfolios for pennies. And a new investment advice site is providing tailored portfolio guidance for free.While Motif Investing (which sells complete portfolios of 20 or 30 stocks for $9.50) and FutureAdvisor (which aggregates retirement account and investment portfolio information and tells users what securities to buy and sell) both portray themselves as "disruptive" to the traditional money management business, they are part of a trend that began several years ago."This is the direction the industry is going," says John Ritter, a Cincinnati financial adviser and money manager. "Investment management is becoming commoditized."That trend has been built on two key technology developments: Internet access and algorithms that can drive automated investing advice and portfolio construction. The start of that movement may date to 1975, the year Charl...

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