Opinionista Lance Claasen 25 March 2015

Trading in ignorance

There is no quick fix to most good things in life: weight, health, and riches. Anyone promising anything else is almost certainly a charlatan.

Lance Claasen

Lance Claasen works in reputation management. He has over 20 years experience in media. He has worked for Kaya FM, 702 and Cape Talk. He is not to be confused with his twin brother Larry Claasen who is Deputy Editor of at Moneyweb.

Last Friday afternoon, 20 March 2015, to be precise, while I was at home minding my own business, I received a call from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange – except the call was not actually from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. It was from a company called Ultimate Prosper Solutions, claiming to represent the JSE.

Winston, the call centre agent, gave me a long, roundabout, convoluted presentation, saying that I was already a part owner of the JSE, as I had a bank account and a pension plan. They were looking to unlock my true potential as an owner, by providing me with a web-based trading platform. Winston was out of his skin with excitement when I told him to send through a representative to my workplace at Kaya FM on Monday morning. I, too, was excited, and had lined up Steven Bacher, Kaya FM’s business editor, to see whether he too would invest money in their trading platform. We wanted to get rich quick, and licked our lips with excitement at buying a new Porsche.

Alas, to my surprise and disappointment, their representative did not pitch.

Maybe they had googled me before they set off and realised that this Lance Claasen fellow looked like a heap of trouble. Or maybe they found out that journalists don’t earn that much and I was not worth their time and effort. Whatever the reason for not pitching, Steven and I thought this was an opportunity to good to miss, so we tracked them down and called them.

We even recorded the phone call so others could listen in share in our good fortune. Why should we be selfish and keep the tools of wealth to ourselves?

The bubbly Merchia took our call and reiterated that they represented the JSE and even gave a guarantee that we have never heard from any trader, stock broker or investment house. She said that we were guaranteed 40% back on my initial investment within six months. She sounded so eager to help us and navigate us to our soon-to-be bought private islands.

We were so impressed by what we heard from Merchia that we decided to thank the JSE for entering into their partnership with Ultimate Prosper Solutions. So we called the JSE Marketing Manager, Lebo Ledwaba, and played him the conversation we had had with the lovely Merchia.

To our surprise, Ultimate Prosper Solutions was not an associate, representative, partner or even a distant cousin of the JSE. In fact, he was quite miffed to hear what the representatives of Ultimate Prosper Solutions and companies like them, who hawk trading platforms, are doing. It is such a big problem that JSE and the Financial Services Board have teamed up to take legal action against them.

He warned that if we went ahead with purchasing the software, we were bound to lose our R20,000 investment. The only company we found with an intimate relationship with Ultimate Proper Solutions was customer service webpage Hello Peter – where there was a long line of former customers, left bitter by their experience from Ultimate Prosper Solutions.

Just like there is no easy path to love, there is no fast track to riches, and anyone promising anything like it is promising too much. DM

If you want to hear our interview click here.



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