Apps Gone Wild And No Nukes Please

James Miller, Contributing Editor & Research Analyst, Wealth Solutions Report

Ross Gerber Invests In YouTuber Startup, Goldman Requests No Nukes, Bannon’s Associate Arrested, NBA Players Allegedly Defrauded And The Apps Plague

I miss COVID. In the yesteryear of pandemics and lockdowns, I could order food online and have it dropped at my door without the delivery person giving me that “how much you gonna tip?” look. As a matter of fact, “contactless” meant eye contact too, so people would leave me alone and everybody was fine with it.

Now that both parties in Washington (why do they call them “parties” when they’re so dour?) agree that the pandemic is officially over, staying in your apartment alone looks abnormal again and I’m starting to feel a bit edgy without some kind of impending disaster to fret about.

What’s more, the weather has been quite pleasant in Phoenix. Inflation fell precipitously so the Fed will soon stop raising rates. HBO is upgrading their streaming service. This month has been too flowery and cheerful on Mount Crumpit – so in desperation I turn to the financial press to juice my anxiety.

And what a fountain of anxiety it is! Goldman asking an angry firm to put away the nukes, NBA stars allegedly defrauded, Ross Gerber invests in a YouTuber’s real estate company, the DOJ arrests Steve Bannon’s moneybags guy and the pestilence of apps. Thanks, financial media, for that rush of cortisol!

1) ‘Please don’t go nuclear’ Goldman exec asks Focus partner as sale turns sour

“A Goldman Sachs executive pleaded with the founder of a Focus Financial Partners-backed firm not to ‘go nuclear’ and shatter a sale agreement that was falling apart.”

“Weeks later, on March 29, Mickey Segal, managing partner of business management firm NKSFB, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County court against Goldman and Focus.

“The suit alleges that Goldman and Focus entered into a ‘secret deal’ to sell the whole of Focus to a private equity firm and take it off the public market, and that this conflicted with an agreement by the three parties to sell NKSFB and related company KSFB Management to another entity.”

When you don’t close the deal, you must sue someone – especially if that someone is the alleged vampire squid, DJ maestro of Lollapalooza. And I must admit that I am a bad news vampire myself, recharging my energy from the anxiety and frustration of others.

Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the attack lawyers!

Does it matter who’s right or wrong or if the case even makes sense? No. It’s just big money fighting in court with packs of attack lawyers. Grab some popcorn and whiff the anxiety with me.

To read the full article by Sam Bojarski of Citywire RIA, click here.

2)  Ex-Morgan Stanley Broker Cuffed for Alleged Role in $13M Scheme to Defraud NBA Stars

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York on Thursday announced criminal charges against former Morgan Stanley broker Darryl M. Cohen for his alleged involvement in two schemes to defraud four professional basketball players of more than $13 million.”

“From roughly 2017 to 2020, Cohen ‘orchestrated a scheme’ to defraud three of the athlete clients, unnamed in the indictment, of a total of more than $5 million ‘by taking advantage of his advisory and fiduciary relationships with those clients,’ the DOJ said.”

“The athlete clients were allegedly fraudulently induced by Cohen … to purchase viatical life insurance policies at ‘massive markups’ of as high as 310%…”

This story is long on details of multiple alleged infractions, from buying swimming pools to paying people in “romantic affairs” – definitely worth the read for the sheer schadenfreude of it.

You’ll find the sense of universal balance that manifests only when superstars who get paid millions to do what they love allegedly get bilked out of those millions by crooks in suits.

Then those alleged crooks in suits find themselves in a lawsuit that may lead to an orange suit. Come on, admit it. You’d enjoy that.

To read the full article by Jake Martin of Financial Advisor IQ, click here.

3)  Please don’t make me download your conference app

“For some years now, nearly every wealth management industry conference has featured a dedicated mobile app.

“Attendees are encouraged to download the app, upload a picture and profile, and use the program to customize their agenda, schedule meetings with other attendees, participate in polls, view curated social media posts and ask questions to panelists.”

“To start, my phone already has a ton of apps I never use.”

“They can also be just plain annoying. Financial advisors hear enough pitches from companies looking for their business without adding their profile to an app that includes the ability to reach out directly to a mobile device.”

Tired of apps yet?

“But there are also some data privacy and security concerns that people should take seriously, especially highly regulated people like financial advisors who may download conference apps on the same phone they use for work.”

Neal is spot on, 100%. Apps lost their cool about the time Apple discontinued the iPhone 5C. Companies went from wanting to launch an app as a unique and competitive innovation to vigorously reminding you that you have to download and register so they can “provide you with excellent service” (i.e., link your phone to their CRM).

Now that restaurants call their appetizers “apps,” you know we’re in the drain sequence of the cycle. And there’s nothing more fun that watching our apps gone wild culture trip over the toys it left in the floor.

To read the full article by Ryan W. Neal of InvestmentNews, click here.

4)  Ross Gerber, former self-declared Board of Directors candidate for Tesla, takes stake in YouTuber’s rental property startup

“Ross Gerber has taken a personal stake in a YouTuber’s real estate startup that aspires to purchase, renovate, manage and resell rental properties for profit.

“Gerber Kawasaki, the veteran advisor’s $2.2bn RIA, disclosed in a Form ADV update with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that Gerber … is a minority investor in House Hack, which is owned and controlled by Kevin Paffrath. Paffrath has roughly 1.87m followers on YouTube on his channel, ‘Meet Kevin.’”

As a previously self-declared potential candidate for Tesla’s Board of Directors, Gerber is probably looking for new projects to fill up his time.

And hey, real estate is hot again – hotter than a skunk in the Phoenix sun.  It looks like Gerber might have fallen under the heavy spell of FOMO.

To read the full article by Ian Wenik of Citywire RIA, click here.

5) DOJ Arrests Chinese Billionaire and Steve Bannon Associate in $1B Fraud Scheme

“A financial advisor and the exiled Chinese businessman he works for — an associate of former Trump White House advisor Steve Bannon — were charged separately on Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission over an alleged, complex scheme to solicit more than $1 billion of investments in various entities and programs via allegedly false statements and representations.”

“As charged in the DOJ indictment, Guo allegedly lied to his victims and promised them outsized returns if they invested in, or provided money to, Guo-controlled entities…”

Don’t buy tickets to Bannon’s arrest

“Guo and [his advisor] Je allegedly misappropriated hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulently obtained funds, including for the purchase of a mansion and luxury vehicles.”

For those buying tickets and popcorn to Bannon’s arrest – don’t hold your breath. There’s nothing mentioned here that implicates him. But if you’re hoping that Bannon’s War Room will get defunded, you may have just received your wish.

Let’s end on this note of arrests, fraud and politics. Are you buzzing on cortisol yet? You’re welcome!

To read the full article by Jeff Berman of ThinkAdvisor, click here.

James Miller, Contributing Editor & Research Analyst at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at

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