Stock-Picking for a Good Cause

Stacy Asher - cnbc video

Stacy Asher on CNBC.

Even though she worked for years in the hedge fund industry, Stacey Asher often felt like an outsider in the investing world. “I was always like, This is not my thing.”

So why did she start Portfolios with Purpose, an online stock-picking game with a do-good edge that pits big-name pros like Leon Cooperman and Karen Finerman against ordinary folks?

Wall Street moguls give millions to the causes they care about, Asher says, and she built PwP to give main street investors a fun way to experience a similar thrill—without having to invest a dime. “It’s like fantasy football, but with stocks,” she says.

You sign up, pick five stocks that you’ll hold for the year—there’s no trading—and then “play” on behalf of the charity of your choice.

Your stock choices are visible only to your fellow players. During the year, you can also network with others inside the game.

Although there are three levels—novice, professional, master—Asher says that in 2012 so far, PwP’s first year, some people in the novice class are beating the pros.

Winning portfolios at each level are announced at the end of the year, and entry fees go to the winners’ charities. So when you win, your cause gets a big bump.

But the goal is more than winning, Asher says. “I want people to get their feet wet, and say, ‘Hey, I can do this’.

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