I See Dead People…Trading Stocks! Plus, When Billionaires Get No Love

Our Regular Review of News from the Weirder Side of the Wealth Management Industry 

James Miller, Contributing Editor,
Wealth Solutions Report

For as much shade as I love to throw at Phoenix, I will say that one thing Arizona has going for it is refusing to participate in the archaic and demoralizing “fall back” of daylight savings time. 

Jetlag is bad enough when you go on vacation.  But jetlag without even going somewhere nice?  Count me out.

Also, the stunning panorama of the cliffsides at sunset and the rolling cactus fields out away from the city truly are a sight to behold. The dusk views represent one of the few features about my life in this part of the country that I don’t absolutely detest.

Not conforming to daylight savings time also has the benefit of taking off the table yet another reminder that the passing of each season and each year brings each one of us that much closer to the end of our mortal coil.

Of course, there’s nothing that cheers me up more than compiling our regular Bizarre Industry Bazaar section – And there’s plenty of weird news to share in our latest installment!

1) A 7-foot tall statue of Harambe, the gorilla killed in 2016 who became a meme icon, was installed across from the Wall Street Charging Bull

“A massive, 7-foot-tall statue of Harambe — the gorilla famously shot by zookeepers at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2016 after a young boy climbed into his enclosure — was installed across from the famous Wall Street Charging Bull on Monday. The statue was accompanied by thousands of bananas, which were arranged around the Charging Bull statue with the intent to later donate them to local food banks and community fridges, NBC News 4 reported.”

Apes together strong

Since January, one of the hottest topics has been that of meme stocks. AMC, Bed Bath and Beyond, and of course Gamestop. Depending on who you ask, you may be told it’s a David and Goliath story of retail investors taking on market makers…or it’s a bunch of e-hooligans pumping and dumping.

While it certainly would make sense that this statue was meant to be commentary on this topic, the statues installer had a less divisive explanation: “Harambe is a representation of something that lets us look at more than just ourselves,” Sapien co-founder Robert Giometti told NBC News 4 on Monday. “What are we aspiring to as people? It’s about connecting. A simple gesture of giving a banana builds community. As a society, we need to come together. We can’t keep fighting to come together.”

Which ticket symbol is B-A-N-A-N-A-S?

However you want to interpret this, the fact that the bananas used for the photos were later donated to those in need is at least something we can agree on as a meaningful gesture.

To read the full article by Palmer Haasch of Business Insider please click here to go to the Business Insider website.

2) FINRA Bars Broker Accused of Trading in Dead Client’s Account

“A broker formerly with the Advisor Group member firm SagePoint Financial and Cambridge Investment Research was barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority after he allegedly traded without written authorization in the accounts of multiple clients, including one who had died, and then didn’t cooperate with FINRA’s investigation, the industry self-regulator said Monday.”

Giving a whole new meaning to executing trades.

Never mess with FINRA – It usually won’t end well. The financial advisor in question is alleged to have participated in “…unauthorized trading in the account of a deceased client and using discretion without written authorization in client accounts, according to FINRA.”

This conjures to my mind an image of a decaying, rotting investors still so obsessed with maximizing portfolio alpha that they’ve returned from the grave to trade.

To read the full article by Jeff Berman of ThinkAdvisor please click here to go to the ThinkAdvisor website.

3) Barring Billionaires From Your Club?

“To show how exclusive you are, there’s nothing like turning away a billionaire.

Two members of the three comma club were among those nominated to join R360, a new, invitation-only investment and networking group for people with net worth of $100 million or more. Neither billionaire made it past the membership committee, according to Charles Garcia, one of the group’s managing partners.”

Money can buy a lot of things, but access to the R360 is apparently not one of them. A new network for ultra-wealthy, similar to Tiger 21, seeks to bring together likeminded linked by common themes of “honor, entrepreneurial grit and generosity of spirit” denied entry to the billionaires because “One person seemed to want to leverage the group to benefit their own business activities, and the other didn’t want to integrate his family.”

I think Groucho Marx sums this one up nicely: “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one if its members.”

To read the full article by Suzanne Woolley of FA Magazine please click here to go to the FA Magazine website.

4) Succession lessons for FAs from the Mafia

“‘The problem is, that old man, he wanted to be the boss his whole life.’

Like, oh my GOD, no I don’t want to work in the sanitation department!

It sounds like something an employee at a small RIA might say about the founder/CEO he works for. But in this case, the ‘old man’ in question isn’t a financial advisor who broke away from Merrill Lynch during the financial crisis – he’s Andrew ‘Mush’ Russo, the longtime alleged head of the Colombo crime family. And the kvetcher isn’t a young financial advisor – he’s an alleged Colombo soldier who was caught on tape by the FBI.”

With the increase of life expectancy and overall health, one of the major roadblocks for the next generation is getting into the higher up positions. If people are healthy enough and enjoy what they do, then many see no reason to stop working. That is a common theme in the labor market at large. It seems organized crime is no exception.

Russo is alleged to involve himself to a much higher degree than necessary, and that may ultimately lead to the downfall of the 87 year old. He wants the glory and the money from the deals, but obviously does not want the blame. 

That must fall on the shoulders of the soldiers who “just aren’t what they used to be.” The main gripe is how technologically involved the new generation seems to be. Any parent will tell you it’s impossible to get your kid off their iPhone.

To read the full article by Citywire RIA please click here to go to the Citywire USA website.

5) Ex-Texas adviser gets 3 life sentences for $32 million Ponzi scheme

“A one-time investment adviser representative who courted clients with Bible-thumping zeal and loads of Texas charm, William Neil “Doc” Gallagher was sentenced Monday to three life sentences — plus another 30 years in prison — in Fort Worth, Texas.”

Our last story takes a look at a charming Texas gentleman who swindled seniors out of their hard earned cash.

Gallagher, who ran the Gallagher Financial Group, was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Using his personality and façade as a religious man, Gallagher was a bit of a celebrity in North Texas. 

Unfortunately, much like Bernie Madoff, the result was financial ruin for many he claimed to be helping as “more than a dozen senior victims testified about losing anywhere from $50,000 to $600,000 that they had invested in the Gallagher Financial Group.”

To read the full article by Bruce Kelly of InvestmentNews please click here to go to the InvestmentNews website.

James Miller, Contributing Editor & Research Analyst at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at ContributingEd@wealthsolutionsreport.com

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