The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Top 10 Financial Lists: You Decide Which Is Which
Top 10 Celebrities Advertising Financial Products
1. John McEnroe
The video above features John McEnroe. It's the first in a series of small films that promote Aegon’s digital retirement advice service, Retiready. Making an excellent point, McEnroe said: ‘It’s definitely easier to plan and save for your retirement than to have to win 155 professional tennis titles to pay for it.’ How apt for a SIPP site!
2. Snoop Dogg
Arguably Snoop Dogg is a little less cool as says ‘You’re so MoneySuperMarket’, nodding in approval. The advert, released in early 2014, shows a bespectacled Phil, who looks a little geeky. But Phil is far from geeky, having bought a cool car for a good price after consulting online comparison website MoneySuperMarket.com.
3. José Mourinho
Henderson Global Investors acquired a little of Chelsea's football manager José Mourinho's sparkle when he was asked to front an ad campaign in 2011. Displayed on huge billboards across the UK, the Special One, aligned himself with 'The Other Special Manager'.
4. Michael Parkinson
There was quite a media storm when Michael Parkinson fronted a TV ad campaign for AXA's insurance arm, Sun Life. Whatever your thoughts might be about Sun Life's Over-50s Plan, Parky's endorsement was a shrewd move for the insurer, aligning itself with Parky's reassuring and trustworthy personna.
5. Lucas And Walliams
Little Britain's Matt Lucas (pictured) and David Walliams made a number of adverts promoting Nationwide's mutual status. The series of ads were broadcast featuring the pair asking for banking advice in predictably distasteful ways.
6. Paul Whitehouse
Actor comedian Paul Whitehouse’s series of adverts for Aviva makes use of some of his best known characters, originally made famous in The Fast Show. In one, he plays a recently deceased dad who has managed to provide for his family through Aviva’s life insurance policy. Another is an easier-on-the-heartstrings car insurance skit.
7. John Peel
Back in 2000, DJ John Peel (pictured) joined Amanda Burton and Tom Bell in an ad campaign for Equitable Life. It was meant to capitalise on the fact it had mutual status and wasn't a drain on its finances from shareholders. But things didn't go well. Equitable Life was forced to close to new business after promising annuity deals to some of its customers that were unaffordable and the government had to step in to provide compensation.
8. David Beckham
St James's Place nabbed David Beckham to speak at its 2011 annual conference. Beckham was interviewed by BBC sports presenter Clare Balding as part of the company's opener. According to a company spokesman, it was a ‘classic David Beckham performance’ and ‘everybody loved it’.
9. Steven Gerrard
Beckham is not the only footballer to align himself with financial advice. Caerus founder, Keith Carby, managed to get Steven Gerrard to talk at a conference for his new business venture. Gerrard was a guest at the first sales conference for the advice company, in recognition of Caerus’ support of the footballer’s Steven Gerrard Foundation.
10. Amber Martinez
Scottish Widows is right up there when it comes to unmistakeable branding. Everyone recognises the mysterious lady in the black cloak. The life company has introduced a new model to take over the cloak, Amber Martinez. She's the fourth widow in the campaign, which first began in 1986.
Top 10 Financial Fraudsters
1. Bernie Madoff
Was Bernie Madoff’s $65 billion fraud worth the 150 year prison sentence he received for it? Madoff, asset manager and founder of Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities, was the mastermind behind the single biggest accounting fraud in American history. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to charges including fraud and money laundering. Madoff duped investors including celebrities like Steven Speilberg, Kevin Bacon and Zsa Zsa Gabor by promising to beat the market with a steady investment strategy, although he was actually running a Ponzi scheme. It all unravelled for Madoff when the markets tumbled and caused investors to demand their money back. He couldn’t cough up the $7 billion and was turned in by his family.
2. Robert Allen Stanford
Texan financier Allen Stanford became the subject of several fraud investigations after running a Ponzi scheme under the guise of a respectable investment company. Stanford was a trusted figure but tricked over 21,000 investors to hand over around $7 billion which he allegedly used to pay for yachts and private jets. Stanford promised investors returns if they bought certificates from his Stanford International Bank based on Antigua, an island in the Caribbean. In 2012 Stanford was given a 110-year sentence in June 2012. US authorities had, however, sought a 230-year sentence for Stanford, describing him as ‘a ruthless predator responsible for one of the most egregious frauds in history’.
3. Eric Bloom
In March 2014, Eric Bloom was found guilty of orchestrating a £500 million fraud scheme and was convicted of 18 counts of wire fraud and one count of investment adviser fraud. As chief executive of failed investment firm Sentinel Management Group, Bloom and the firm’s head trader, Charles Mosley, were indicted in 2012 on charges that they cheated at least 70 investors. Sentinel filed for bankruptcy in August 2007, days after telling investors it was freezing its funds because of market volatility.
4. Greenwood and Walsh
Double act Paul Greenwood (pictured) and Stephen Walsh must have been used to a lavish lifestyle as they used $554 million of investors’ money as their personal savings accounts. Greenwood and Walsh set up WG Trading Investors, a fraudulent commodities trading company, and the two are believed to have used the company as its own short-term lender and took millions of investors’ cash between 1996 and 2009. However the pair were divided when Greenwood pleaded guilty in 2009, while Walsh did not come clean until April 2014.
5. Samuel Israel
Ex-Wall Streeter, Samuel Israel, not only faked his finances, he also faked his own death in a bid to escape being convicted for a $450 million fraud. Israel launched a hedge fund called Bayou Group, based in Stamford, Connecticut, in 1996 and raised $450 million from investors. Israel and his associates used the money for personal use and presented falsified reports saying the fund was performing well. The scandal became public in 2005 and Israel was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Israel ran off and faked a suicide before surrendering about three weeks later. He is now serving a federal sentence.
6. Charles Keating
Charles Keating used his company, Lincoln Savings & Loan, to pour depositors’ money into risky investments. As a result the company’s assets soared from $1 billion to $3.9 billion in just three years. Keating then took $34 million for himself and another $1.3 million as ‘campaign contributions’ to get regulatory help from the Keating Five, his accomplices. Rumbled in 1989, some 23,000 customers held $250 million in worthless bonds. It was the largest of 1,043 savings and loan failures from 1986 to 1995. Before a re-trial in 1999, Keating pleaded guilty to four counts of wire and bankruptcy fraud and was sentenced to four and a half years.
7. Martin Frankel
Martin Frankel was sentenced 17 years in prison for creating an investment scheme that created $200 million in losses and forced seven insurance companies to collapse. Frankel was a self-taught stockbroker who used astrology to make financial trading decisions to run various investment schemes over the 1990s, including the Frankel Fund, out of his bedroom. He was sentenced in 2004 after being accused of using shareholders accounts to pay expenses, rent and spending money for himself and his family.
8. Jordan Belfont
Jordan Belfort, better know as 'The Wolf of Wall Street', made millions in the 1990s with his investment company Stratton Oakmont. Using a ‘pump and dump’ scheme, his brokers pushed stocks onto their clients to inflate the prices, and then the company would sell off their own holdings making a great profit. Starting in 2003, Belfort served 22 months of a four year sentence for fraud and money laundering, and was fined $110 million.
9. Benjamin Wilson
There was no love lost between fraudster Benjamin Wilson and his friends and employees on Valentines’ Day 2014. The financial trader swindled £22 million from his nearest and dearest and was sentenced to seven years in prison for confidence fraud which funded his lavish lifestyle. His fund, SureInvestment, enticed 300 victims, and some had invested their life savings into it.
10. Charles Ponzi
Charles Ponzi was not the original fraudster, but his dastardly deeds ensured his name would be dragged up frequently during talks of financial crime under the eponymous phrase "Ponzi Scheme". In 1919, Italian businessman Ponzi promised American investors they could get a 50% profit within 45 days, or 100% profit within 90 days by buying discounted postal coupons from other countries then redeeming them in the US for postage stamps. Ponzi even established the Securities Exchange Company for his elaborate scheme, where he paid early investors using the investments of subsequent ones. His scheme ran for a year before it collapsed and his investors lost $20 million and left six banks in disrepair.
Top 10 Wealthiest Hedge Fund Managers
1. Alan Howard. Brevan Howard. £1,600m in 2014.
2. Michael Platt. Bluecrest. £1,500m in 2014.
3. Sir Michael Hintze. CQS. £1,055m in 2014.
4. David Harding. Winton. £750m in 2014.
5. Chris Holn. TCI Fund Holdings. £657m in 2014.
6. Crispin Odey and Nicola Pease. Odey Asset Management. £520m in 2014.
7. Martin Hughes. Tosca Fund. £478m in 2014.
8. Steven Heinz. Lansdowne Partners Limited. £350m in 2014.
9. Andrew Law. Caxton Associates. £350m in 2014.
10. Michael Cohen. Och-Ziff. £330m in 2014.
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