Connecting Retail Investors to Issuers, and Issuers to Retail Investors

April 4, 2019

You may have seen last week’s article about our new integration with Fidelity Investments®. It was also a featured story in The Bond Buyer and other publications. We’ve been working on this for some time with Fidelity and we’re very excited to bring it to market. Together, BondLink and Fidelity are seeking to stregthen muni bond research for retail investors.

As you know, BondLink’s mission is to help issuers engage more investors in the $4 trillion municipal bond market. The formula is to combine enhanced transparency packaged with cutting-edge technology. We recognize the buy-side in MuniLand is not monolithic: it includes various types and sizes of institutional investors, as well as non-traditional investors like retail investors.

It’s a lot easier for BondLink to help our issuer-clients engage more with institutional investors, though. We know who they are, what they hold as investments, and have established paths to communicate with them. Retail is much more difficult. That’s why our integration with Fidelity is so important for issuers, and frankly, for the broader municipal bond market’s evolution.

Despite being such a large investor in the muni bond market, individual investors typically don’t have easy access to issuer information, and don’t have sophisticated tools/analytics and dedicated research teams that institutions do to help evaluate investment decisions. And researching a governmental issuer can be extremely challenging without these resources, especially if it needs to be done quickly and efficiently.

Our goal with the integration is to help empower this very important class of individual investors in the primary market. Now, Fidelity Investments®’ millions of retail investors can access BondLink’s aggregation of issuer data on Fidelity.com. Easier access to issuer information will allow for more research by retail investors, including the ability to select bonds based on the types of infrastructure projects being funded or the issuer’s overall level of transparency.

Every single one of our issuer-clients wants to find new paths to reach retail. They also know to reach more retail investors today, you must meet them where they are: online. Retail investors use their mobile phones, tablets and computers. Now with BondLink and Fidelity, issuers have an easy way to activate the power of the internet to enhance their bond sales.

Fidelity has long been a pioneering leader in enabling retail investors through technology and research. As one of the first firms to enable individuals to buy bonds online, we couldn’t be more excited to work with Fidelity to launch this first-of-its-kind capability. And with BondLink’s issuers’ commitment to transparency, this new agreement will help unlock more demand for their bonds from individual retail investors.

We’re excited to open up this new tool for issuers to reach more retail investors, and to be delivering it with an industry thought and technology leader like Fidelity Investments®. As one of our BondLink clients, Michael Gaughan of the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank said in a recent article, “Giving more individual investors better access to information is always a good thing for this market.”

Colin MacNaught

BondLink CEO & Co-Founder