With the marijuana industry expected to grow to $6.7 billion by the end of this year and the growing popularity of equity crowdfunding, it's now easier than ever to get your hands, or at least your money, on pot. But as with any type of investment, there are risks, writes Kathleen Burke on MarketWatch. Nevada-based Med-X, which provides cannabis-related research, agriculture and media brands, has started offering non-accredited investors shares of the company. The firm is accepting investments of at least $420—700 shares at 60 cents a share. Anyone 18 or older can contribute less than 10 percent of their income without additional disclosures. However, in SEC documents, Med-X lists the following risks to investing in the company: uncertainty in the profitability of their products, the inability to guarantee capitalization or refunds on investments and the possibility that the company may not become publicly traded at all. In addition, the company's primary shareholders, i.e. management and founders, will maintain 77 percent control of the stock. While the disclosures are typical, they shouldn't be ignored, said Alan Brochstein, founder of 420 Investor. "They’re capitalizing on the interest in the cannabis sector that’s not necessarily productive,” he said.
Following the rollout of an investing program around Catholic values in October, Morgan Stanley added another socially responsible topic area to its impact platform on Friday. Retail and institutional clients can now access the Climate Change and Fossil Fuel Aware Investing Tool Kit, which provides a variety of investment strategies that take into consideration things that affect climate change, including environmental-forward companies, fossil fuel usage, opportunities around renewable energy and shareholder activism. Bloomberg reports the area has seen a huge spike in interest, with assets falling under the broad definition of sustainable investing reaching $21.4 trillion at the start of 2014, up 61 percent in two years.
In the third generation of the Black Diamond wealth management platform, SS&C Technologies made a significant overhaul of the reporting and client communications features. Advisors can now show clients interactive and digital reports on fixed income and alternative investments, projected income and net worth. There’s a new homepage view for dynamic reporting and dashboard that advisors can customize to their preference. The update, which SS&C has called “BD3” also includes a “Presentation Mode” that advisors can use to display meeting agendas, market commentaries and financial plans. SS&C said there are now 750 advisors using BD3 to service 10,000 investors.
Chocolate may be in demand around Valentine’s Day, but don’t bet on exchange traded products that invest in it, writes ETFTrends.com. Year-to-date, the iPath Bloomberg Cocoa TR Sub-Index ETN (NYSEArca: NIB) and the iPath Pure Beta Cocoa ETN (NYSEArca: CHOC) are down an average 12.3 percent, despite supply concerns in West Africa and the potential impact of El Niño. But there are other issues to consider, ETFTrends says, and cocoa prices could be poised to rise as supplies diminish. Some market analysts expect the cocoa supply deficit could decline by 250,000 tons this season. Demand for chocolate is also expected to rise, driven by urbanization and the rise of the middle class in developing countries as well as dry conditions.