In 1998, Seely created ShareBuilder Securities as an online brokerage to serve middle market investors and to encourage people to start investing and save regularly. Seely pioneered the concept of allowing automatic dollar-based investing in any stock or exchange traded fund, which provided a practical and affordable way for the retail investor to employ dollar-cost averaging as an investment method in those securities. There were several elements incorporated in the design of the automatic investing system that were highly innovative and that eliminated much of the back office cost associated with retail customer trades, thereby making dollar-cost averaging functional and affordable.
In 1999, these were the first retail brokerage accounts where every communication and business process was conducted electronically. New account applications, account approvals, monthly customer statements and trade confirmations were all processed over the internet and/or sent electronically. ShareBuilder’s automatic investing system was the first commercial program that employed an in-house share accounting system that accepted customer orders for any stock or ETF on a dollar-denominated basis, instead of specified share amounts. This enabled the investor to set a pre-determined dollar amount for monthly investing and accumulate both whole and fractional shares of stock as the program executed. Most importantly, this form of investing is based on aggregating customer orders across all stocks being bought, enabling the trade cost to be spread across a multitude of buyers and allowing efficient order execution for even small orders. For example, a customer investing only $50 in both Google and Microsoft every month would have their order grouped with thousands of dollars worth of other orders, enabling better order execution, fractional share purchases and a commission as low as $1 per transaction.
Jeff is a trustee on the Washington State Investment Board, which oversees more than $70 billion of pension assets for state employees and he is a Director of Concur, a leader in employee spend management software. Jeff holds a BA degree from St. Lawrence University, 1976 and an MBA from Columbia University Graduate School of Business, 1980.