Q: I was offered an investment opportunity in Andrew Jang/Travis Swanson’ company, Vogue Individual, LLC, doing business under the Adriaen Black design label. Is it a good investment?
Since this is your money, the operative question is: “Is it a SAFE investment?”
Only you can determine that but we can suggest the following “DO’s” and “DON’T’S” in helping you to determine this very important decision.
DO—Consult with a trusted Financial Advisor. A Financial Planner, Accountant or Attorney are preferable, but you want a second set of eyes on the investment offering to test if it makes sense to a third party. Need a referral? Contact us.
DON’T—Sign anything or wire money until you have first taken this most important step
Securities Exchange Commission (SEC)
DO—Contact the SEC to verify if Jang/Swanson can legitimately sell securities in the state they are offering the investment. This may include securities, equities, promissory notes or anything in return for funds invested up front. Your Advisor can help, but you can also contact:
DON’T—Accept verbal claims the company is authorized to sell you this investment. Trust but verify.
Conduct Business in Writing
DO—Obtain all investment details in writing from the company. Document all questions—and answers—in writing.
DON’T—Accept verbal claims or “Gentlemen Agreements”. This protects both parties from the peculiar human habit of “selective memory”
DO—conduct credit checks on both principals of the company. You will need their social security numbers and permission. If you are to be the banker; you have the right to know their creditworthiness.
DON’T—move forward without this information. Trust but verify.
DO—conduct background checks on both principals of the company. A background check gives you a glimpse of past track records. You want to know this since at least 50% of the success of both your investment and the company depends upon the Management.
DON’T—move forward without this information. And don’t forget to include past legal events; these documents are loaded with findings. Trust but verify.
Referrals From Other Investors
DO—Speak directly with as many past and present investors as you/your Advisor can. They can provide insights as to what you may expect as a prospective investor!
DON’T—Accept only referrals from the company. While present investors are helpful, past investors are more likely to talk since they have nothing at stake. We can help with referrals.
Ask The Right Questions—Demand Straight Answers
DO—work directly with your Advisor to compile a list of pertinent questions/concerns following your due diligence. Pose the questions in writing; ask for answers in writing. At a minimum, your list should include the following questions:
- How will my investment be used? Will any of it be used to cover personal expenses of the Principals?
- How will this investment result in a Return on Investment (ROI)?
- What are my risks and will I be able to get my money back on request?
- May I/My Advisor see your company’s financials?
- How will you protect my financial interests in the event of other claims from prior investors (judgments), government agencies (taxes/SEC violations) or liabilities to third parties (new lawsuits)?
- Where will my funds be maintained, and how will you report the status of those funds? How often will you provide financial reporting to me?
DON’T—Accept answers or promises that are not in writing or that you don’t understand. Resistance to, vagueness or ignoring your questions should be treated with the highest concern. It is your right to pose and expect straight answers to your questions/concerns—they need your money more than you need them.
While we cannot guarantee following these steps will ensure the safety and success of your investment—we can assure you that if you follow these steps, you will be going into this Adriaen Black investment “with your eyes wide open”. Let us leave you with a final “DO” and “DON’T” suggestion:
DO—Base all investment decisions on objective evidence and facts. Let the numbers and the facts speak for themselves.
DON’T—Accept subjective promises, projections or verbal claims regardless of how much you may like or trust the Salesman.
“TRUST BUT VERIFY!”