Former Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chair Sheila Bair has joined the board of online lending platform Avant, the startup announced Friday. Avant has originated more than $3 billion in loans through its site and raised $325 million in its latest funding round—constituting a mega-round. Bair, who currently serves as president of Washington College, the historic liberal arts college on Maryland’s eastern shore, will start serving on Avant’s board immediately. The board also consists of James Robinson III, co-founder and general partner at RRE Ventures, and Siddharth Mehta, president and CEO of international credit bureau TransUnion. “In a short period of time, Avant has become a visionary leader within the financial services industry,” said Bair. “Its core focus of providing responsible access to credit for the middle-class consumer and enhancing the borrowing experience is filling a void in the market.”
Cambridge Turns 35
Cambridge Investment Research is celebrating its 35th year in business. One of the last large, privately owned independent broker/dealers, Cambridge has some 2,800 independent reps nationwide in its network. The firm placed among the top three of large independent broker/dealers in Wealthmanagement.com’s recent IBD satisfaction survey, with an overall score of 9.2 (1=unsatisfied, 10=could not possibly be happier). The firm plans a number of events during the year, starting last Thursday with an anniversary celebration for home office employees in Fairfield, Iowa, hosted by CEO Eric Schwartz, President Amy Webber and Executive Vice President Dan Sullivan.
Avoid Getting Fooled Out of Money
Friday was the first day of April, meaning you probably fell for at least one prank online. But April is also Financial Literacy Month, and FINRA put out five tips to help investors avoid being tricked out of their money. They advised investors to always know who they are dealing with by asking lots of questions and verifying backgrounds with services like BrokerCheck, and to be wary of exaggerated performance claims by advisors. They recommended advisors learn more about the different types of investments, to look for warnings signs of fraud, and to never hesitate to ask questions. “There’s nothing funny about a fraudster carrying out a scam—and no one will yell ‘April Fools’ to make the harm melt away,” said Gerri Walsh, Senior VP of Investor Education at FINRA. “So instead of offering practical jokes, we’re marking the start of Financial Literacy Month with practical tips for becoming a smarter investor.”