Wohl Leaves Twitter, Citing “Teenage Gossip”; Actress Disputes Work RelationshipMark Melin
Self-proclaimed “hedge fund guru” Jacob Wohl, who ValueWalk previously reported moved from milk to Tequila when he began to offer managed futures CTA strategies, appears to be toning down his public communication. His Twitter feed, where the 18-year old previously touted his trading analysis for NeX Capital Management LLC, is no longer active. His corporate web site, where he claimed a well-known Hollywood actress as his strategy inspiration, was also unavailable and the actress is now disputing the relationship status.
Former Desperate Housewives actress Rachael Fox disputes Wohl’s claims of a relationship, as Wohl’s “Immersion Program” appears to make a performance guarantee
Actress Rachel Fox, best known for playing Kayla in the ABC television series Desperate Housewives, is disowning affiliation with Jacob Wohl’s various trading ventures, including the NeX Immersion Program. In trading related promotions, Wohl, touting his Hollywood Hills location and inferring social interaction with both male and female employees, promises to teach would-be traders how he trades systematically.
Wohl had listed Fox on his web site as a strategy inspiration, a claim that appears to be in question. In an interview with ValueWalk, Fox claimed not to know Wohl and said she only learned of his trading program through a ValueWalk article. Fox told ValueWalk that she did at one point trade managed futures strategies but currently trades long equities only. When quizzed about CTA strategy specifics, Fox declined further comment.
Wohl not backing down, cites “frivolous teenage gossip” on Twitter
Wohl, however, appears to stick to his story. In a ValueWalk interview he re-iterated a working relationship with Fox, but refused comment when asked if he had a signed contract. It’s time for a Twitter break, too, he says. “I feel that the positives of the platform do not outweigh the negatives, namely the type of frivolous teenage gossip which is prevalent there.”
While much of the company’s website remains unavailable to the public, a YouTube video that provides insight into the NeX Immersion Program remains on-line. In this promotion that is subject to regulatory review, Wohl touts a one-week training course featuring a hip, luxury location with several amenities.
Wohl told ValueWalk the immersion program has 1-2 students at a time come. People stay at what he describes as the “trading compound, where they are placed directly within a venue which they may learn the ins and outs of trading and business.”
Wohl says four students have taken the course, with a list price of $4,999 for nearly a week, but that price negotiation does occur based on the ability to pay. “The clientele are usually local college students, looking to jump-start their careers with some live-fire experience.”
Students get live fire experience from Laural Canyon location, while promotional video appears to guarantee satisfaction or a certain type
“NEX is based here in the Hollywood Hills and we feel that gives us a lot of advantages over other funds that are based downtown. They’ve got a lot of distractions,” Wohl claimed in the video. “We’ve got none of that up here. It is luxurious,” he said, citing a quiet Laural Canyon location best known as home to many musicians and with ties to murderer Charles Manson.
After citing a lack of distractions in the Hollywood Hills – perhaps a point of debate among some who have lived both downtown LA and near the Hills – the next series of video frames reveal a student mingling with attractive women, one of whom is introduced as an employee.
Jennifer Cole, who is afforded the corporate title of “Director of Fun,” states “I’m responsible to make sure everyone has a great time at the NeX Immersion Program.”
It is unclear if promising a great time in an educational video promotion might be considered by regulators a performance claim, as a regulatory definition might be limited to investment performance.
While claiming people will have a good time and selling his “guru” status may not, in and of itself, violate regulations, Wohl could be in for a surprise when it comes time to receive a regulatory audit, particularly if he is managing outside capital. Wohl said he is not currently the subject of any regulatory inquiry, but at some point non-exempt CTAs managing outside public money are subject to a regulatory audit, a rarity in the alternative investment space.
Jacob Wohl, meet the National Futures Association
February 19, 2016 might have been an interesting benchmark in the life of Jacob Wohl. This is when he registered to become a member of the National Futures Association, an independent regulator known for a degree of independence. Jon Corzine, when he ran MF Global, successfully was able to avoid NFA regulation and received a relatively unique exemption from this industry self-regulator that is funded by a percentage of revenue off each derivatives trade.
As an NFA member, Wohl is likely to learn that each member is subject to annual audits. Only having been a member for near two months, Wohl would not normally be subject to an audit unless a field supervisor noted suspicious behavior that might require further investigation. In such a case, it would not be unusual for the NFA to accelerate its annual audit, which participants note can be demanding. It includes not only an independent analysis of performance data and confirmation of account totals, but also having an acceptable disaster recovery plan and ensures that other worst case risk management protocols are in place.
Good luck when your audit comes, Jacob, and you might want to find an industry consultant who can help you prepare. Those audits can be very detailed and deliberate.