Broker Check

1. Control

Basically, our world changed in the ‘90’s primarily because of the introduction to many, if not all of us, to the World Wide Web. The internet had changed just about everything in 1995. While you might have owned a computer in the mid-nineties, your use was limited in terms of communications with the outside world. Maybe at work you had the ability to connect with others in your company, essentially by hard-wired networks. Perhaps you bought your first laptop in ’95 or’96, lured by the “Internet in a Box”. Problem was, of course, it was all “dial-up.” Remember those screeching sounds of logging on?

Other facts point to the dramatic change’s investment markets displayed over the late 20th Century too. This part of the story really begins with the introduction of the Individual Retirement Account in 1973, followed by Congress passing the Revenue Act of 1978, including the provision Section 401(k). These legislative moves spawned an explosion in the mutual fund industry. In 1980, total assets in 1,260 mutual funds were right at $58.4 billion and held by about 5.7% of US households. In 2000 a Federal Reserve study commented on the growth of mutual funds to about $7.1 trillion.   “Mutual funds currently hold about one-fifth of publicly traded U.S. corporate equities. Thus, the investment behavior of mutual fund shareholders could, in theory, influence equity market prices” (Engen & Lehnerth,2000).

By the end of 2019 fund assets were $21.29 trillion (twelve zeros) in 7,945 funds, held by 46.7% of US households. Added to this, think about the “mutual funds” that mimic bond and equity indexes, and can be “traded” like stocks every day. There are 2,036 of these in the US (note more than the number of stocks in the New York Stock Exchange) so we have another $4.23 trillion floating around in the markets every day.

The point is that institutions like mutual fund companies, insurance company investments, state and other pension plans are the management engines driving the are just the fuel. Those institutional investors control the game and the are in the bleachers.

Do not think for one minute, however, that you are powerless in this investing game.

Let’s look at the second reason investing has changed...Complexity.


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[1] Ferguson, W. G. (2020). Stock Market Today: March 23, 2020.  Value Line:,_2020.aspx#.Xv9HNyhKiw4
[2], March 9, 2020
[3], February 8, 2018
[4], October 10, 2018
[5], December 25, 2018
MarketWatch (2020) Data retrieved:,  July 2, 2020.
deSilva, Peter, TD Ameritrade, President of Retail.
Engen, E. M. & Lehnerth A. (2000). Mutual Funds and the U.S. Equity Markets. Federal Reserve Bulletin: Retrieved from
Hockey, Tim (2018. (2018) The Tech Effect: How the Digital Age Is Changing Investing. Note, President/CEO Tim Hockey of TD Ameritrade.
 Rudden, J. (2020). Share of households owning mutual funds in the U.S. 1980-2019