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In New York, two thoroughfares generate huge sums of money each year: Wall Street and Madison Avenue.

For obvious reasons, there's a long-standing relationship between the two, but that relationship could blossom even more under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act), which was signed into law earlier this year.

Prior to the JOBS Act, there had been a ban on general solicitation of investors by private funds and companies. In other words, non-publicly-traded companies were effectively forbidden from marketing themselves as an investment directly to members the general public. Thanks to the JOBS Act, however, that's going to be changing.

Much of the excitement created by the JOBS Act has been around the crowdfunding portion of the legislation, but in terms of dollars, it could be an even bigger boon for entities like hedge funds, many of which are currently seen by many outside of Wall Street as secretive operators in a mind-boggingly complex global financial system.

As detailed in a Bloomberg article published by AdAge, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is still in the process of defining how the ban on general solicitation will be reversed, but when it is, it could create significant opportunities for digital marketers and agencies in various parts of the online marketing ecosystem.

Although private funds will still have a relatively limited audience to pitch (those with more than $1m in assets or $200,000 in annual income), there are millions of people in the U.S. who meet the requirements and it's all but certain that at least some funds will seek them out online. As Bloomberg points out, many who meet the requirements for investing in these funds are not investment experts by any stretch of the imagination, suggesting that funds wanting to convert them into investors will need to themselves invest in branding and education.

Will hedge funds reach into their wallets to reach potential investors?

The SEC's new rules could be a game-changer for Wall Street firms previously insulated from the world of marketing, and as a result these firms will become potentially lucrative targets for digital marketers and agencies, particularly those well-versed in SEO, PPC and lead generation.

An investing landscape in which general solicitation is permitted should also be good news for publishers that reach affluents, particularly those that are in the financial vertical. Already a lucrative space that often sees much higher-than-average CPMs and CPCs, if hedge funds rush in to reach out to a new generation of investors, demand for the most desirable ad inventory in the financial vertical could go up as funds and their digital marketing vendors vie for prospective investors' attention.

Patricio Robles

Published 30 August, 2012 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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