Plus: Former UBS Advisor Suspended Over Rock Salt, Steve Young Owns His Past, FINRA Exam Cheaters Barred, and Does God Have an ETF?
This month’s bizarre stories brought me to a point of self-reflection: I’m a nihilist who fears the wrath of a higher power. That doesn’t mesh, does it?
Yet, it’s a theme that keeps coming forth in this latest installment of Bizarre Industry Bazaar.
For instance, if I cheat on an exam, somewhere back there in my amygdala crawls a little bedbug of fear, though my inner nihilist quickly tries to shout down the sentiment, crying out, “Who cares?”
So by this reasoning, if you learn that FINRA punished a financial advisor for running a side gig salt business, that’s score one for nihilism!
But if you say something bad about a prominent member of the Mormon community, maybe you’ve stored up wrath.
By this same token, if a financial advisor shoots his successor with intent to kill, that’s the smirking face of nihilism peeking out from behind Heaven’s curtain – metaphorically, of course.
However, if you say something snide about an ETF that’s literally named after God, you’d better hope all that nihilism is true!
I take courage in this: If there is punishment awaiting on me on the other side of this mortal coil, it can’t be any worse than living alone in a one-bedroom walk-up in Phoenix, Arizona. And doing so year round.
With that said, enjoy this month’s set of the weirdest and wildest stories in wealth management!
1) Finra bars would-be brokers for cheating via online qualification exams
“Finra barred two individuals from the financial industry for cheating on online qualification exams, the first enforcement actions the regulator has taken in relation to remote examinations.”
“In separate incidents, Autiero and Kausar accessed public online forums to assist with answering questions during examinations.”
“Finra has been offering remote exams for more than a year to accommodate social distancing concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. Most industry qualifying exams are administered in person.”
After wreaking havoc and destruction, COVID created some rare opportunities like cheating on remote exams. Sadly, FINRA decided to ban remote cheating, which means cheaters must think strategically!
If FINRA monitors your laptop, borrow somebody’s phone and hotspot your iPad, then you can cheat and get away with it. Clients always prefer the smart advisor over the honest one – if you can beat FINRA, you can beat the market!
To read the full article by Mark Schoeff Jr. of InvestmentNews click here.
2) Ex-UBS Broker Who Led Big Ohio Team Suspended Over Rock Salt Business
“The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has sent another warning to brokers about the dangers of dabbling in any outside business activities–even those not remotely related to the securities industry–without getting proper approval.”
“The regulator issued a $5,000 fine and one-month suspension against a former Ohio broker for UBS Wealth Management USA who failed to seek proper approval for a business buying and selling rock salt …”
“Finra has been cracking down on unreported outside activities while it has also been attempting to revise its rules to make them clearer for firms to enforce and brokers to follow. A 2018 proposal has stalled, however, and compliance officials, including a Finra board member, in May knocked the regulator’s existing policy as ‘dated.’”
FINRA is on a roll. While the first story may appeal to your sense of justice, how about this one? FINRA cracks down on those evil moonlighting entrepreneurs! Better make sure Grandma doesn’t pay you for fixing her leaky sink.
FINRA knew when those guys were cheating remotely, and they know more than an elf-on-the-shelf about you. You never know if they’re touring through your Venmo account looking for illicit business (in contrast to the IRS, which is definitely creeping through your Venmo account).
To read the full article by Mason Braswell of AdvisorHub click here.
3) Ex-49ers’ QB Steve Young Finally Stops Running From NFL Career
“Steve Young won three Super Bowl rings as quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers and made it to the National Football League Hall of Fame by running away. And that’s what he did when he left the game after the 1999 season.
“Intent on making a name for himself in investing, Young resisted leveraging his on-field fame for years. When his longtime business partner Rich Lawson would hang Young’s former college and pro jerseys in the headquarters of HGGC LLC, Young would take them down, and bring them home.
“Now, having closed HGGC’s latest and largest fund at $2.5 billion, Young and Lawson have gathered almost $7 billion across four funds and completed $50 billion worth of deals and Young is no longer running from his past life. The jerseys are up on the wall for good …”
You’d think a Super Bowl champion who quarterbacked at the university named for his great-great-great-uncle and second founder of the Mormon faith might just surrender to the fact that people will know who he is, regardless of whether his old NFL jersey hangs on his office wall.
At this point, I am in fear of a deity – the God of the Latter-Day Saints, so have nothing more to say.
To read the full article by Jason Kelly of Financial Advisor click here.
4) What’s the deal with the God Bless America ETF?
“[T]he planned launch of a fund advised by Toroso Investments and subadvised by Curran Financial Partners has drawn its share of headlines.
“Called the God Bless America ETF (ticker symbol YALL), it is couched as an anti-ESG product with a stock selection process that entails screening out companies that have indulged in political activism, as well as favoring companies that have tended to create jobs and build things in America.”
As the authors point out, this is not the MAGA ETF, because that one has a defined strategy. This one is about marketing messages and press hype. If the fund were truly about anti-ESG, why is the fund advisor also involved with pro-ESG ETFs like the Adasina Social Justice ETF? They’re something like the arms dealer that sells weapons to both sides.
And unlike all the other ETFs, they named this one after God, which would scare the nihilism out of yours truly if they weren’t so nihilistically playing both sides for profit.
Is this really God’s ETF? Ask the representative of God on earth himself. No, not the Pope – Dave Ramsey.
To read the full article by Alex Steger and Alex Rosenberg of Citywire USA click here.
5) 90-year-old Morgan Stanley broker arrested after shooting business partner
“Leonard Bernstein is accused of shooting his 61-year-old colleague multiple times in an Oklahoma City branch office.”
“A 90-year-old Morgan Stanley broker has been accused of shooting a colleague multiple times in an Oklahoma City branch office …
“Police say Leonard Bernstein walked into the office last Thursday [June 30] and shot Chris Bayouth, 61, several times before driving away. Bernstein was later arrested in a traffic stop and charged with shooting with intent to kill, police records show.”
“Bayouth was rushed to a local hospital and is expected to survive.
“Bernstein’s BrokerCheck record shows no disciplinary actions, discharges or investor complains in his 28-year career.”
Leonard Bernstein, who did not write “West Side Story,” ended his career by attempting, and failing, to kill the advisor he trained to succeed him.
To be clear, this is a horrible tragedy, of course. But it’s also a weirder than weird story. Frankly, it sounds like something straight out of a Chuck Palahniuk novel. And nothing can restore your faith in nihilism more than that.
To read the full article by Ryan W. Neal of InvestmentNews click here.
James Miller, Contributing Editor & Research Analyst at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at ContributingEd@wealthsolutionsreport.com