NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Let’s say you’ve got a friend’s wedding coming up, or a child’s graduation. You may think about wrapping up a gift card or sending a check, but a new startup called Spark Gift has another idea for you: why not give stocks as a present?
The process is simple: select a stock or index fund within the Spark Gift platform and enter the recipient’s name and email. Spark Gift, in turn, sends a gift certificate to your intended recipient (charging you a $2.95 fee for gifts up to $100 and a 4% fee for gifts above $100). The recipient must then add the gift to an existing brokerage account or set one up in order to accept the gift. Spark Gift even sets the recipient up with an investment advisory firm to help manage the account.
The idea isn’t entirely new--you can always retitle assets through your brokerage company--but the platform simplifies the process and takes care of all the details. There have also been some small websites like Oneshare.com and GiftsOfStock.com that have taken a stab at gifting investments online, but it seems as though they had some difficulty growing. Oneshare’s site says that it “is currently undergoing maintenance, and we cannot accept orders at this time,” and GiftsOfStock looks as though it hasn’t been updated since around 2010 when it was covered in the Wall Street Journal.
It’s been no easier for larger platforms with a robust following already in place. Betterment, an online management firm with $1.6 billion under management, actually tried creating a Betterment Gifts feature but shut it down a little over two years ago. It remains to be seen if Spark Gift will see more success than those who have attempted stock gifting before.