Customer Case Study with Philip Picariello (VP of Finance & Ops at Stocktwits)

Written by

Meow Technologies, Inc.

Published on

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Customer Case Study with Philip Picariello (VP of Finance & Ops at Stocktwits)

Meow Technologies is a financial technology company, not a bank or FDIC-depository insured institution.

Advisory services are offered through Meow Advisory, LLC, an SEC-registered investment advisor. Brokerage services provided by BNY Mellon Pershing, member SIPC, through a clearing and custody relationship with Atomic Invest.

Stocktwits is a platform for over 6 million users to share ideas and insights about stocks and the financial markets.

Founded in 2009, Stocktwits has raised almost $50 million in venture funding including a recent Series B financing. Their investors include Foundry, True Ventures, ffVC and Social Leverage.

Today, we are featuring Philip Picariello who is the Vice President of Finance & Operations at Stocktwits.

Prior to Stocktwits, Philip held various different senior roles leading finance functions for startups as well as a 10+ year stint as a Senior Vice President and Head of Investment Management for a $25 billion short duration fixed income portfolio with eSecLending. He also oversaw the government bond trading team and co-established the portfolio management division.

Philip also holds many licenses and certifications from FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, including the SIE, Series 14, Series 24, Series 28, Series 4, Series 57, Series 63, Series 7 and Series 99.

You have a ton of experience in financial services. Why use Meow versus a legacy provider?

“Asset management fees are incredibly overpriced for just buying U.S. Treasuries at legacy banks.

We have seen fees range from 25 to 100 basis points (or 0.25% - 1%) for an asset manager as well as a markup from the trading desk.

These management fees make no sense for something as simple as a laddered U.S. Treasuries portfolio compared to building a full blown portfolio across multiple asset classes.

It also comes down to service and not just being another client number having to talk to multiple people and red tape to get adjustments made to the product.

I have worked with many vendors or financial services in the past where a question or a small change has to be reviewed by up to 9 different people. I don’t know who to talk to. You don’t know who can answer what. One person needs to talk to 7 other people to get the right answer to your question.

And it just wastes a lot of time. We have other providers and you get some support email that takes hours and days to get efficient responses on.

That is frustrating when you’re dealing with millions of dollars moving around.

What makes me feel valued?

I go right into our Slack channel and ping on a question and it’s answered right away without hesitation. And if you don’t have an answer immediately, you give me a timeline and you go way above and beyond to be transparent.

There is no red tape or bureaucracy.”

But what about the legacy “free” money market funds?

“Money market funds always have an expense ratio meaning you are paying something. Depending on the share class, those fees can range between 25 and 100 basis points. Always look at the Fund Fact Sheet. When looking at Government Money Market funds, inquire about the approved repo collateral as some funds will take Agency Mortgage Backed Bonds which might not align with your firm’s investment strategy. And based on Rule 2a-7, those funds are required to carry certain daily and weekly liquidity buckets to fund all investor outflows. Based on your company’s cash needs, a dedicated portfolio would better allow you to optimize your cash’s return on a risk adjusted basis.

However, more importantly these money market funds are mostly omnibus accounts which means your funds are stuck with everyone else and you don’t have a direct relationship with your own cash.

Having a direct relationship with your capital in a segregated brokerage account is important to me especially with everything that’s happened in the banking world.”

But why don’t you just go to TreasuryDirect (government website) to buy Treasury Bills?

“I could, but it’s not an efficient use of time. Treasury Direct allows for the purchase of the Treasuries in the primary and secondary market but also requires you to set up a relationship with a brokerage firm if you want to liquidate those securities. So now I need two vendors to do what Meow can do for me."

Anything else that you find important?

“I looked under the hood at Meow. You need to when you’re parking your cash.

And I saw a FINRA registered broker-dealer and custodian with BNY Mellon Pershing*. Having set up investment advisors and broker dealers in the past I know the scrutiny that these firms go through on a regular basis.

My wire instructions say BNY Mellon Pershing. At no time does Meow handle the firm’s funds. I can see my unique account number. I can login to the portal and see exactly where my funds sit.

And that’s what matters for my investors and board.

You guys are the tech platform on top which makes it nice and easy. And you’re hyper transparent about the fees showing all yields in the dashboard net of fees which I appreciate.

Look, every startup works hard to raise their money.

They want to invest their cash and extend their runway. And it doesn’t make sense to pay it all in fees which is why I love your model for financial services. Keep it transparent for the customers.”

The case studies discussed herein were selected based on objective non-performance based criteria and are provided for illustrative purposes. There is no guarantee that Meow will find similar opportunities in the future. Additional information about these investment case studies can be obtained by contacting Meow.

Meow Technologies is a financial technology company, not a bank or FDIC-insured depository institution. Likewise, Meow Technologies is not an investment adviser and none of the information presented herein should be relied upon as financial advice or a recommendation to make any financial decision nor should it be considered to be tax or legal advice. The information is the opinion of Meow Technologies for educational purposes and may not be suitable for all companies. Products, like the one described herein, are offered through Meow Technologies and are not advisory services which are only offered through Meow Advisory, LLC.** The FDICs deposit insurance coverage only protects against the failure of an FDIC-insured bank.**

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