Wikinvest Adds Real-Time Portfolio Tracking

The world of portfolio tracking got much simpler on Wednesday with the introduction of a new investment tracking tool from Wikinvest. The free service allows users to import information directly from existing brokerage and investment accounts, synchronizes the data, and then presents real-time information about the combined portfolio's performance.

Unlike most portfolio trackers, which require manual updates of changes to different accounts, the Wikinvest tool syncs users' information from any of the 25 brokerages that the site supports and tracks them all in one place. The supported brokerage include Charles Schwab, OptionsXpress, Wells Fargo Fidelity, and ETrade.

After entering account information, users can customize a dashboard to present the metrics that are important to them, choosing to view 52-week ranges, grouping investments by industry or market capitalization, or tracking book value by share.

Along with real-time updates (the page automatically refreshes itself), the portfolio tracker also presents relevant news stories and information from the Wikinvest site.

Founded in 2006, Wikinvest is a Web portal of investment information generated by users. Like the collaborative online encyclopedia Wikipedia (the sites are unaffiliated), community members contribute and edit the site's content. According to the company, users have added more than 10,000 articles that include investment topics, company profiles, and trading tips. The site and free tools are financed through advertising and by licensing content to other sites.

In direct competition with established finance sites like Yahoo Finance, Wikinvest is angling to become the "world's best source of investment information and investment tools." In pursuit of this goal, the site has added unique features like collaboratively annotated stock charts and a finance search engine called Bling. With the introduction of the portfolio tracker, Wikinvest takes a big step to provide investors with immediate access to all of their investment information, as well as relevant data, articles, and advice--in one place.

The co-founder of Wikinvest and a former Amazon.com employee, Michael Sha, addressed security concerns in an interview with the New York Times, saying that they have encrypted the site and secured its hardware. Even if someone accessed a user's account, the site is read-only and no changes or money transfers could be made.

Users seem to be confident in their efforts. In an interview with Wired, Sha noted that users ported account information with over $100 million worth of securities within the first several hours.

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