The 5 Star Wealth Manager Scam

Mar 30, 2010 58 Comments by

Bryan Binkholder and Blue Ocean Portfolios have been announced as proud winners of the ‘5 Star Wealth Manager Award’ and were featured in St. Louis Magazine in the Month of March 2010. Unfortunately, this entire award is a scam designed to help Financial Salespeople win the trust and admiration of consumers. I was contacted by the company that does the ‘research’ and I audio taped all the conversations as they described how they selected winners. Based on the information given, I knew that it was statistically IMPOSSIBLE for somebody to have nominated me.  Armed with my presumed beliefs, I contacted my clients inquiring of each if they had nominated me.  As much as I was hoping that statistically maybe I was the 1 in 2 million, I found that no one had even received a nomination card (from what they could recall). When I asked the company for a copy of the nominations they received “from my clients”, they of course could “not release that information” to me.  This company–Crescendo Marketing– conveniently has a ‘3rd Party’ that does the ‘research’ so it is extremely hands-off. Most likely this is done to protect them legally if and when someone like myself calls them on the carpet.

In order to show consumers the full extent of the scams that flood the investing industry (and to avoid accusations that I was suggesting it was a scam “only because I didn’t win”) I purposely accepted the award (see the PDF copy of the magazine).  And for only a few thousand dollars I can tell the world that I’m a “5 Star Wealth Manager” award winner! (*see attachments below)

Always be aware of marketing awards, marketing materials or anything else that announces a firm or individual is ‘The Top of The Top!’ These ploys are common when it comes to trying to set yourself above others and provide a 3rd Party that says…. “Hey, this guy is good.”  Notice on the St. Louis Magazine site they also do this for Realtors and Mortgage people.  Notice there aren’t any 5 Star Awards for Attorneys?  The reason is that attorneys must abide by a higher code of ethics that prevents them from being involved in a sham such as this one.

My comment and thought to ponder is this–If an advisor is spending $5,000 to $10,000 on this award to market it, they are either obviously doing it to ‘DUPE’ a consumer or they are so blind that they can’t see how much of an obvious scam this is to the industry and the consumer.


*Check out the attached ‘order form’ to see the options advisors/salespeople have to “show your expertise and service.” Remember, tell others and let them know that this is a 5 Star Scam!

5 Star Wealth Manager Sell Sheet

5 Star Wealth Manager– St. Louis Magazine Award Winners

More about this on the Video Below:

Featured, The Cons of Wall Street, The Name Game

About the author

Entrepreneur, author, advisor and radio show host focused on cutting through the wall street deception in an attempt to bring facts, reality and success to investors. Visit for financial planning resources at

58 Responses to “The 5 Star Wealth Manager Scam”

  1. Bryan Binkholder says:

    Well Done Vic! Congratulations you’re a 10 Star Advisor in my book! In fact, based on this entire post you made…I think we should have a special award for you….that’s right a 15 Star! Only for the ‘Best and Brightest’ as deemed by their peers (who happen to be me and you but whose counting). Oh wait….this is the CPA award which I’m surprised they started now….that was an area they didn’t do previously (I guess since they claimed they used client reviews which was a bogus claim-hence their changing it to ‘peer review’). Hey, I recommend you go back…WIN THE AWARD and then watch their constant marketing to you–it’s a brilliant lesson in marketing so that alone is worth the price of your time. You’ll be a 5 Star! Plus you can watch as they pound you with offers. I STILL GET OFFERS to buy more plaques even though I won in 2010! Well I have no problem when someone wins an actual award or etc but this is just made up crap and consumers don’t know any difference but some states are starting to catch on I think due to my writings and their own perceptions. State of Washington Warning on Five Star Wealth Manager Award

  2. Todd says:

    I just “won” again! (see my post from 8-20-12).

  3. David Paris says:

    They try to get me to sign up every year, but end the call saying you will be recognized on our website for free even if you don’t pay the fee… so far I am still not on their website.

    David Paris
    NJ Realtor

  4. Ramon says:

    Thanks for the vid. I was contacted by these folks a couple of times. I knew something was up. You just confirmed it. The funny thing is there are a couple of advisors out here proudly putting this stuff on their website. lol

  5. Mary says:

    I just won and I think it’s an advertising scam. I’m a realtor and they told me my buyers sent in survey ranking me very high and I only work with sellers. They are very aggressive tring to sell me an ad

  6. Bryan Binkholder says:

    Hey Congratulations Mary for your handwork and effort. In fact I’m giving you a 10 Star! They really are pushy and I STILL GET offers for a plaque from my award in 2010! LOL….you just can’t make it up.

  7. Bryan Binkholder says:

    Ramon as I said in my video the advisors either 1) have no clue that it’s a joke and if that’s the case why in the world would you want to use them to manage your money or 2) they know it’s a sham like I’ve detailed and they’re just trying to do it to make people think it really means something…….Thanks for the response and it’s great to see people who look at this and understand the joke that it is. You also get my 10 Star Award!

  8. Bryan Binkholder says:

    David why am I not surprised….this program is a good little racket and one of the reason’s they tried to shut me up by threatening to sue me of which we politely responded that I would drop everything if they showed me the ‘supposed clients’ who recommended me…otherwise sue me and shut me up. What they did was end up changing the Financial Advisor program so now they don’t say it’s “Client nomination” but is instead ‘Peer Review and Nomination’ which is a joke….

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