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Bernie Madoff Copyright Mario Tama, Getty Images

Ponzi Schemes Are Not Going Away

A dozen or more Ponzi schemes still take place each month, Ally Financial finalizes TradeKing integration and HD Vest teams with Drake Software on tax planning.

Investors continue to be willing to trust their life savings with fraudsters, even years after Bernie Madoff stole nearly $65 billion from some of the richest people in the United States. According to Kathy Phelps, author of The Ponzi Scheme blog and the book Ponzi-Proof Your Investments, there are a dozen or more people or groups charged with Ponzi schemes every month. “You would think the investing public would become savvy, but it doesn’t appear to be happening,” said David Wall, the CPA at the CliftonLarsonAllen accountancy firm in Los Angeles who represented the District Attorney’s office in the Ryan Rude Ponzi scheme. “People continue to be very trusting and not do the level of due diligence,” Phelps told MarketWatch. “If you don’t understand it after a five-minute conversation, don’t invest in it.”

Ally Invest Eyes Millennials

Richard Hagen

Last April, Ally Financial Inc. paid $275 million to acquire TradeKing, hoping to resonate with and court younger investors. With the official completion of TradeKing’s integration and acquisition this week, they are set to “make a splash in self-directed online trading, particularly with millennials.” While the robo-advisory space is becoming increasingly crowded, millennials aren’t necessarily aware of that. According to a recent LendEDU survey, 62 percent of millennials said they didn’t use robos because they didn’t know they existed. “What’s interesting is on the banking side, 55 percent of new customers are millennials. Our Ally Invest portfolio is over 25 percent millennial,” said Rich Hagen, the former president of TradeKing and now Ally chief. “When you think about things like speed and efficiency, a simple and easy to use and understandable platform and value, these are all things that have become high priorities to that new millennial consumer.”

HD Vest Offering Tax Services with Drake

HD Vest CEO Bob Oros

Broker/dealer HD Vest Financial Services recently announced that its financial advisor support model will now be available to Drake Software’s tax software users. HD Vest aims to optimize their client services ahead of the upcoming tax season with professional tax software provider Drake. "We are focused on building out innovative solutions that enable our advisors and tax professionals to provide holistic wealth management for their clients. Working with Drake to offer these solutions to their clients demonstrates our commitment to this goal,” said Bob Oros, CEO of HD Vest Financial Services. “Our advisors benefit from direct integrations that streamline and strengthen their tax services, further enabling them to move taxes to the center of the financial planning and wealth management conversation.”

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