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Alternative investments can be thought of as any investment that is not stocks, bonds or cash.
Assets such as art, commercial real estate, collectibles, cryptocurrency, NFTs and more are alternative investments.
So, where can you actually purchase these alternative investments?
For much of history, alternative investments have been primarily held by institutions and high net worth investors.
In recent times, many online investing platforms have into existence with this very thought in mind; how to make alternative investments like art more accessible.
In this article, we highlight one of these platforms – Public.
Public is an online investment platform that got started with traditional investments. Early in 2022, Public acquired Otis, which was an investment platform specializing in alternative investments.
Before we dive into our Public review, we’re going to provide a brief summary of Otis and the acquisition made by Public.
Table of Contents
What Was Otis?
Otis got started in 2019 and was founded by Michael Karnjanaprakorn. His vision was to create a platform that gave everyday investors the opportunity to invest in more than just stocks and bonds.
Karnjanaprakorn wanted to help investors have a chance to invest in “culture.”
His company sought out assets like a pair of Michael Jordan shoes he wore in game or fine art produced by Banksy.
Otis’ process began by purchasing fine art or a famous collectible or an NFT. They then securitized the asset with the SEC and gave investors the ability to purchase shares of the asset.
Over time, investors could trade their shares in the Otis platform. If Otis ever sold the underlying asset, then principle and potential profits would be paid out to investors.
Some notable assets owned and sold by Otis included a few Crypto Punk NFTs, famous athlete’s rookie cards, old Pokémon cards and more.
Public’s Acquisition Of Otis
Public is a popular investing platform that strives to merge social media and investing.
They provide investors a platform with features such as fractional shares or “slices,” a social media feed where you can follow other people’s investments, and various assets such as stocks, ETFs and Crypto.
In March of 2022, Public announced the acquisition of Otis. This acquisition came as a result of an effort to provide investors a platform where they could house all of their investments – both traditional and non-traditional.
Now, investors have the ability to invest in stocks, crypto, ETFs and alternative investments like art and collectibles in one app.
In July of 2022, a majority of Otis’ assets were migrated to Public. Remaining assets were sold and profits were distributed to investors.
What Is Public?
Public got started in 2017.
Since its launch, the company has gained quite the momentum. Since 2019, the company has raised over $300 million and attracted over a million members. Public has over 60,000 reviews in the app store with an average rating of 4.7 stars.
Public is a SEC and FINRA regulated company, as well as a member of SIPC.
One of the key draws to the Public platform is the fact that investors can hold stocks, ETFs, crypto and alternative investments such as art all in one platform. In addition, they do not engage in the controversial practice of Payment For Order Flow or “PFOF.”
Another key feature with Public is the education. The platform helps people make better investment decision with access to custom company metrics, live shows about the markets and real-time analysis.
Members are also able to control how they invest with a suite of powerful tools and get insights from a community of millions of investors, creators and analysts.
Public members enjoy fractional shares, automatic dividend reinvestment, no minimum investments and no commissions.
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Public Alternative Investments
Here’s how alternative investments are handled on Public:
- Public’s team of researchers find alternative investments like fine art, collectibles and NFTs that are on trend and at a fair price
- They then purchase the asset and securitize it with the SEC
- Investors then have the chance to purchase shares of the asset
- Once Public acquires an asset, they handle the authentication, insurance, and storage
Much like a stock, share(s) of these assets can be bought and sold by investors in the Public trading platform. Should Public ever sell the underlying asset, the principle and profits would then be distributed to investors.
Unlike other art investing platforms, Public offers investors a simple way to buy and sell shares from their app.
What Kind Of Alternative Assets Are Available On Public.com?
With the merger of Otis now complete, members of Public can find a number of alternative investments on the platform.
- These investments options include rare collectibles like sneakers, baseball cards and comics
- The platform also has fine art, NFTs and more
Full a complete list, check out Public’s featured alternative investments.
What Are The Risks With Alternative Investments?
Investing in general carries risk. Each asset class has its own unique challenges that ought to be understand.
Alternative investments are generally less liquid than other investments like stocks. They also are typically tangible assets that must be stored in a safe, weather proof location.
While Public does provide investors with SIPC insurance on securities, they do not insure alternative investments.
What Are The Fees And Minimum Investment Required?
Public is extremely transparent with its members. There are currently no commissions or other transaction fees for stocks on the platform.
Alternative investments, however, do have a 2.5% transaction fee.
New members are also pleased to know that there are no minimum investment requirements.
- All investments in one place – stocks, cryptos, alts, ETFs
- Fractional shares
- No minimum investment
- No commissions on stocks and ETFs
- 2.5% transaction fee for alternative investments
- No retirement accounts
- Spotty customer service
There are many investment platforms available to choose from.
Public is a top choice for many as it provides investors with the ability to house many asset classes in one place.
In March of 2022, Public expanded their operations with the acquisition of Otis. This acquisition allowed Public the ability to offer investors access to alternative investments like art and collectibles.
The company does all of the legwork including purchasing and securitizing the asset. They also provide insurance and storage of the tangible assets.
If you are interested in gaining exposure to alternative investments, then Public may be the platform for you.