Financial advisor Dawn Bennett, known for her syndicated radio show, "Financial Myth Busting with Dawn Bennett," has been charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission for running a $20 million Ponzi scheme. Bennett, who was barred from the financial-services industry in July 2016 for exaggerating the amount of her firm's client assets, allegedly used investor funds for corporate purposes, personal expenses (including a luxury suite at Dallas Cowboys games) and to repay earlier investors. Bennett's scheme involved selling $20 million of notes issues by a Washington, D.C., luxury-sports-apparel firm to largely elderly and financially unsophisticated investors. According to the complaint, she exaggerated the safety of the notes and success of her firm, touting that it was able to pay annual returns of 15 percent. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland also filed criminal charges against Bennett in a parallel case, the SEC said.
The Future of Wealth Management
Technology is bringing wealth management to the masses, according to a new report titled, “Banking on Disruption: Wealth Management in the Machine Age.” Written by Aroop Gupta, through Tata Consultancy Services and the Christensen Institute, the report focuses on how technological innovations “will lead to changes in organizations’ business models … to the rise of new firms … and, most importantly, they will have a direct impact on society, as people will have access to solutions that were unthinkable even a few years ago.” One of these solutions includes access to high-quality advice and investing strategies at the click of a button: fintech. “Wealth management has traditionally been reserved for the wealthy … and the ability to generate attractive returns on investment has been restricted to a set of people who are knowledgeable about financial markets," Gupta writes. "The fintech [and robo-advisor] world is working to solve this problem by creating solutions that use technology to automate what a financial advisor would usually do with investments—allocate assets and oversee them periodically, thus allowing the tech-based solutions to be much cheaper than traditional wealth management methods.”
Wealthy Families Making an ImPact
Members of some of America's richest families recently came together to create a group that promises to invest in improving the lives of others, rather than cutting large checks, Money.com reports. And it already has some clout. The founding members of the group that calls itself The ImPact include Liesel Pritzker Simmons (an heiress to the Hyatt Hotels fortune), Jason Ingle (great-great-grandson of Henry Ford) and Jim Sorenson (son of businessman James LeVoy Sorenson). "No amount of philanthropy or foreign aid will solve the problems the world faces," said The ImPact CEO Abigail Noble. "We need to use businesses and capital markets."