Last week, ShareBuilder unveiled the company's Bond Funds Center, a fresh online venue with new tools, education, and third-party resources designed to help self-directed investors diversify in fixed income. "Like all features that we try to put forward, we don't do it just because we think they're cool," Dan Greenshields, President and Chief Investment Officer of ShareBuilder Advisors LLC, told Benzinga. "We do it mainly from customer demand. We have gradually been expanding over the years. We initially started only with equities. When we added bonds, bond funds, ETFs, and mutual funds, we thought we'd organize it in a better way."
"The biggest problem is that as soon as you get beyond two or three choices, people get really confused," Greenshields continued, adding that the company offers about 390 different bond fund choices, including ETFs and mutual funds. "But they're in different categories. This allows you to sift through a category, depending on risk, type, whether it's corporate bonds, government-only, international, and quickly do that.
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"The investor can quickly use this tool, [narrow] down what it is they're looking for, whether it's a very conservative short-term government bond fund, or there's something more aggressive that might be in the corporate landscape or even a municipal bond fund."
Greenshields said that everything investors see on ShareBuilder.com -- including the Bond Funds Center -- was built by the company.
To ensure that ShareBuilder is giving customers what they want, the company frequently conducts surveys and focus groups. "We also listen to our customers every day in a very different way on the phone," said Greenshields. "We record every phone call. We review every phone call. We [refer to] the managers as coaches because what they do is coach the people on the phone and they review their phone calls."
Ultimately, Greenshields said that ShareBuilder's entire goal is to "empower the investor."
"We're not trying to shelter some information from the investor," he said. "We're a self-directed firm, so we want the investor to be completely empowered to make the right decisions."
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