James (Jim) Pavia, who ran the editorial staff at Investment News (IN) from June 2003 until this past June and was a central figure in its ascendance as the predominant online hub for financial advisors, is now leading an effort to do the same thing at CNBC, the cable TV business news channel—to create content for investment advisors and financial planners as well as long-term retail investors.
Investment News (IN) has consistently beat the other trade publications at covering major breaking news for financial advisors. Financial Advisor, Financial Planning, and Investment Advisor, trade pubs that preceded IN and commercialization of the Internet, simply do not cover daily and breaking news for financial advisors with the same breadth, depth, urgency or consistency as IN. Crain Publications, which owns 22 trade publications in addition to IN— including seven devoted to rubber and plastics, Advertising Age and Pension & Investment News—adjusted to the online news format better than the traditional trade publications. Pavia directed the effort at IN.
With the NBA season starting this week, let’s put it this way: Pavia is “taking his talents” to a national cable TV financial channel with a strong Internet presence.
This Website Is For Financial Professionals Only
Pavia has been cast in the leading role in creating a news stream targeted to long-term investors and advisors on CNBC. And, in man-bites-dog style, Pavia says this new financial news content stream will focus on long-term investing.
Pavia says he has been empowered to alter the cable TV channel’s fixation on the ephemeral. “We aim to provide investor- and advisor-centric content,” says Pavia, in an email answering questions follow-up questions to a phone interview. “Advisors can and will pick up some solid insights by reading our stories at CNBC.com
on what other advisors are doing successfully in their practices. So it will be a win-win for investors and advisors.”
The number of businesses providing news to investment advisors has grown enormously over the past 20 years. With the five-year old bull market in US stocks, media companies are expanding their content for investors and advisors. The field of publications targeting independent advisors is far more crowded than it was in the 1980s and 1990s.
, originally the "house" organ of the International Association for Financial Planning (now Financial Planning Association), was the first successful trade magazine for financial planners in the 1980s. IAFP spun it off in the late 1980s. Meanwhile, in the early-1990s, Stanger Reports, which tracked LPs, REITs, and the tax-driven investment offerings pregnant with fees--deals that were so prevalent in the mid- 80s, broadened its scope and in the early-1990s was acquired by Dow Jones
and it became known as Dow Jones Investment Advisor
, which begot AdvisorOne
and most recently started getting marketed as ThinkAdvisor
. When Dow Jones sold Investment Advisor
to a private equity group in the late 1990s, Charlie Stroller, an original owner of IA
, started a new magazine literally accross the street from IA, which is today's Financial Advisor
(Disclosure: I wrote what became The Gluck Report
at Investment Advisor and Financial Advisor for about 16 years before leaving to build my own online financial news stream for advisors and their clients.)
Coverage of the financial advice profession has changed drastically over the past 30 years I’ve been involved. CNBC—a TV channel—targeting content about financial advisors adds yet another new twist in the evolution of financial content for advisors and investors.
CNBC’s investment myopia is legendary. While CNBC’s financial news coverage would seem to have value to traders, technicians, and market-timers, it has never been of much value to fiduciaries. People in the long-term investment business need to keep up with breaking news, but they don’t make investment decisions based on the big story of the moment, which is CNBC’s currency. Pavia says that’s changing.
“We are right now creating special report content with a focus on long term investment plans for investors,” says Pavia, who started at CNBC in July. “We are tapping advisors to offer insight through guest columns and to act as sources for the reporters.”
Pavia started his career at The Staten Island Advance
, a humble daily for residents of “the forgotten borough
.” Leaping onto a national stage is such a great New York story. Having grown up in Queens and competed for jobs against silver-spoon Ivy Leaguers early in my career, I’m a sucker for New Yorkers from the outer-boroughs who earn a place in the national press. It’s like the movie, Invincible
, where Mark Wahlberg plays the role of a regular guy from Philly who earns a spot on the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles. Pavia, a scrappy Staten Islander, has a vision that could transform CNBC and play a central role in the evolutionary changes unfolding in financial journalism.
“We want to be the media company that will lead the charge to getting good, deep-dive, long-term information to the investor community,” says Pavia, senior editor-at-large at CNBC Digital. “Our site has several million unique visitors a month and we want to be the first media company of this size to get this kind of information out on a daily basis.”
Pavia says CNBC hopes to cover practice management in addition to investments. But the main focus will be creating content about investing that can be viewed by advisors but also by consumers. Pavia says the opportunity to move to CNBC came up when he was out for drinks with former Crain’s colleague, Xana Antunes, now editor of CNBC Digital.
Pavia describes this part of his editorial mission as providing “agnostic information to educate individual investors who come to the (CNBC) site.” He set up an advisory board comprised of advisors
and hopes to get them on TV and online talking to investors.
“As for staffing,” says Pavia, in an email answering questions following up on an interview, “I am part of a special reports team that works together to produce the content. We use staff and freelance writers to help us generate a ton of copy. My team's mission is to provide great content that will be used across all platforms at CNBC, web, video and TV.”
What’s it all mean? CNBC covering investing from a long-haul perspective is like the world of the bizzarro described in Superman in 1961
. If you were not a Superman comic-book fan when you were a boy, Bizaroo World, says Wikipedia, “has come to mean a situation or setting which is weirdly inverted or opposite of expectations.” Investment advisors, financial planners and credentialed professionals could always count on CNBC and other cable TV business news outlets to be wrongheaded in analyzing investments, but they are, amazingly, getting smarter. But Pavia is a strong leader with a vision.
Advisors should be prepared for consumers, other advisors, and even CNBC to get smarter about investing, which will further commoditize the investment advice business and compress financial advice fees. Local financial advice firms with niches that aim to keep investment fees low by using index funds and ETFs, and that help consumers avoid behavioral finance mistakes and make strategically-oriented financial decisions based on research will be the winners. But what do I know. I’m from Queens.