In Investing: When Strong Was Wrong

There are certainly many references to “strong” or “strength” in the scriptures. One of them, that often comes to my mind is Proverbs 18:10: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.” The man’s safety isn’t in his own strength, but in God’s.

Where is your hope? Whom do you trust?

Sometimes, however, a word causes me to remember something from the “investing” portion of my brain. At one time, when we lived in Milwaukee, there was a broker known as Strong Capital Management, Inc. Cindie had an employer with a 401(k) that was managed by Strong. Thankfully, that was a short-lived part of our investing story. The reason is that Strong was not playing by the rules.

Strong was a financial services firm based in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. For 30 years many trusted their retirement assets with Strong. However, the business failed due to participation in a 2003 mutual fund scandal. Strong engaged in improper mutual fund trading. There is a long, technical explanation for what he and his fellow managers were doing, but the short story is that they were breaking the rules to make extra money for the brokerage firm and for “preferred customers.” They were lining their own pockets by breaking the rules.

Richard S. Strong, the firm’s founder, admitted wrongdoing and apologized to investors. However, he never faced criminal charges. While he was barred from the securities industry for life, he was not reduced to poverty. His wealth likely increased by the sale of his firm to another company.

Where is Your Trust?

As an investor, it is a good thing to have a measure of skepticism about any investment. A bit of caution can save a lot of pain. But, in the end, even those who are cautious can suffer loss. The best way to live life is to trust in the One who provides, not in the provision or even in the human instruments of provision.

How to Identify a Follower of Jesus

A follower of Jesus has a focus on the rock, fortress, deliverer, refuge, shield and stronghold that is found only in the Lord Jesus: Psalm 18:2 “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up.

All scripture passages are from the English Standard Version except as otherwise noted.