I am a physician, currently practicing as an Anesthesiologist. My other passions are finance and investments. As of 2013, I have passed all three levels of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams, all in my first attempts. I received my Masters of Business Administration degree in 2008. I received my certification as a securities specialist from the Philippine Stock Exchange in 2009.
Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) is a legitimate business strategy. However, many scammers have been disguising their pyramid scams as MLM companies . How can a potential investor distinguish between a legitimate networking company and an illegal Ponzi scheme?
Gotcha! If the word “investment” is used by the company, and you are called an “investor”, those are initial clues that it might be a Ponzi scheme. What are the other things you need to watch out for?
The Direct Selling Association of the Philippines (go see their website here) has come up with an eight-point test in distinguishing between a legitimate MLM company and an illegal pyramid scheme (most likely disguised as an MLM). ALL eight questions must have “YES” answers for a company to be evaluated as legitimate.
This is NOT a joke. Ms. Felicitas ‘Fely’ Viloria Sicam of “Are Resident Doctors Really Doctors?” fame really won as Best Columnist in 2015 (in the whole Philippines, no less!) from the Universal Peace Federation, an organization under the Unification Church which some deride as the “Moonies cult”.
Many of my doctor colleagues (the md in thefinancemd stands for an MD degree after all) have already given their opinions about Ms. Felicitas “Fely” Viloria Sicam’s now infamous article (read it here). However, I decided to put myself in her shoes and act as an “investigative journalist”. Here is what I found in my research:
Why did she win the Best Columnist award from the Universal Peace Federation, an organization under the Unification Church, also widely known as the “Moonies“? This is where it gets juicy…
Want to learn how to invest in the stock market? This may be your best chance to learn it for free. You’ll also learn from “The Source” – the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) itself without going there personally (parking there during office hours sucks big time).
On July 21 2015, Apple Inc. reported very good financial results for the recent fiscal quarter. The company’s financial performance actually beat analysts’ estimates. Apple Inc. earned USD 1.85 per share (1.81 analysts’ consensus estimate), and had revenues of USD 49.6 Billion (up 33% from last year and better than the 49.4 Billion analysts’ consensus estimate). Following the announcement, the stock price plunged by around 7%. The common investor asks – how did this happen?
Wall street types may know what’s going on, but the common investor may be scratching his head. I had a conversation with one such investor and tried to explain things the best I can in the simplest way possible.
One of the hospitals I work for proudly displayed the Superbrands seal in its posters when it was awarded one years ago so I assumed then that this award was totally legit and prestigious.
Fast forward to 2015 and here are the awardees:
One of the brands awarded above was the subject of three advisories (cease and desist orders for alleged investment related “modus operandi”) from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Philippines.
The three advisories were issued against that brand in February, March and April 2015. Superbrands handed out its awards May 2015 (see image above). Wow! How did that happen?