Bernard Cornfeld
American financier playboy
Bernard Cornfeld
Bernard "Bernie" Cornfeld was a prominent businessman and international financier who sold investments in US mutual funds, and was tried and acquitted for orchestrating one of the most lucrative confidence games of his era.
Biography
Bernard Cornfeld's personal information overview.
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Economy & Business; Corruption, Crime, Chicanery: Business Through the Ages
NYTimes - about 14 years
THE accounting scandals involving Enron, Arthur Andersen, WorldCom, Qwest Communications, Tyco and other once highly regarded companies have caused a crisis of confidence among many Americans. Some ask whether the problems are so severe as to represent an irreparable fault in the economic system. From a historical perspective, the answer is that
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OFF THE SHELF; An Old-School Mind Not Fooled by the New Economy
NYTimes - over 14 years
WALL STREET these days often seems a place of utter venality in the service of executive greed. So it is refreshing to read of a successful American financier whose interests range far beyond making money. What's more, the self-effacing manner of that financier, Leon Levy, makes you wonder how he could have succeeded. Characteristically, he muses
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FILM;Smile When You Say Documentary
NYTimes - over 20 years
THE FILM SHOWS A NOIRISH Los Angeles, basting in sleaze. A young madam smirks at the television cameras as she is arrested for procuring for the rich and famous in Hollywood. "She didn't look like much, but she had a way with men," a venomous competitor says. "Always on the phone, from the age of 23." Shades of Mike Figgis and Richard Gere in
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And They're Off: Manager Races Index Fund
NYTimes - over 21 years
IT may not be the question of the ages, but two fund executives are attempting to end the longstanding debate about which is better, stock index funds or actively managed stock funds. Robert Markman, president of Markman Capital Management, contends that investors can beat the market indexes by putting their faith and money in mutual funds. His
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Business Diary: February 26 - March 3
NYTimes - almost 22 years
INTERNATIONL Barings P.L.C.: 28-Year-Old Brings Down 233-Year-Old Robert L. Citron. Joseph Jett. And now, Nicholas W. Leeson. The 28-year-old, a trader in the Singapore office of Barings P.L.C., has joined the gallery of those charged with larger-than-life investment mistakes. By betting $29 billion on derivatives in the Japanese markets and losing
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Bernard Cornfeld, 67, Dies; Led Flamboyant Mutual Fund
NYTimes - almost 22 years
Bernard Cornfeld, a Brooklyn-reared salesman who became one of the most flamboyant and controversial figures ever to stride through the American mutual fund industry, died in London on Monday. He was 67. A family friend told Bloomberg Business News, which first reported Mr. Cornfeld's death, that the financier had died of pneumonia after suffering
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IDEAS & TRENDS; Mutual Fund Industry Gets Another Dent In Its Clean Image
NYTimes - over 24 years
IT is an article of faith that the mutual fund industry is "squeaky clean" -- an impression that owes less to the record than to this booming industry's talent for public relations. Last week a glint of less-flattering reality broke through as a Federal jury in Manhattan brought in a guilty verdict against Patricia Ostrander, a former portfolio
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BUSINESS DIGEST
NYTimes - over 28 years
LEAD: The Economy The Economy Some large corporations are beginning to use health plans that shift far more of the financial risk to employees, insurance carriers and the medical community. The move comes as many businesses grow frustrated by unsuccessful attempts to hold down medical costs. For employees, the change often means mandatory
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BOOKS AND BUSINESS; ON THE TRAIL OF A ROGUE CAPITLAIST
NYTimes - over 29 years
LEAD: VESCO From Wall Street to Castro's Cuba: The Rise, Fall, and Exile of the King of White Collar Crime. By Arthur Herzog. Illustrated. 380 pp. New York: Doubleday. $18.95. VESCO From Wall Street to Castro's Cuba: The Rise, Fall, and Exile of the King of White Collar Crime. By Arthur Herzog. Illustrated. 380 pp. New York: Doubleday. $18.95.
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THE WHITE HOUSE CRISIS: 'WE TRIED A NUMBER OF THINGS'; SWISS COMPANY CALLS DEALINGS LEGAL
NYTimes - about 30 years
The chairman of a Swiss finance company thought to have played a role in the Iran arms deal said today that his company had done ''nothing illegal, nothing outside the activity of a fiduciary company.'' The company, Compagnie de Services Fiduciaires S.A., which has its offices in the Champel neighborhood of Geneva, has been linked to plane
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LONG ISLANDERS; A WRITER DISCOVERS THE CLUES TO CRAFTING THE MYSTERY NOVEL
NYTimes - over 30 years
''I THINK the mystery has a form,'' said Robert Upton of Manhattan and Sag Harbor. ''It's more action than introspection, whereas you can do almost anything with the general novel; and that kind of freedom can be intimidating when you're writing your first novel.'' The 52-year-old Mr. Upton, whose own background embraces being recruited as a
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A DARING DEALMAKER PILES UP PROFITS
NYTimes - over 33 years
THERE'S a sign that hangs outside the trading room at Bear, Stearns & Company - a cavernous, darkened room populated by rumpled traders, jangling telephones and dozens of computerized screens that command the attention of all. The sign reads: ''Let's make nothing but money.'' And, indeed, that's just what Bear, Stearns, one of the few remaining
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BIZARRE PROXY FIGHT FOR GLOBAL
NYTimes - over 34 years
When the ballots are counted today on a remote island in the British Channel, the contest for seats on the board of directors of Global Natural Resources will go on record as one of the most bizarre proxy fights in memory. At stake is control of an international oil and gas exploration company that has rich - but, until recently, inaccessible - oil
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ARTHUR ANDERSON LIABILITY IS REDUCED
NYTimes - over 34 years
Judge Charles E. Stewart Jr. of the Federal District Court in New York has reduced an $80.7 million jury award that Arthur Andersen & Company was ordered to pay to the Fund of Funds for not fulfilling its duties as the mutual fund's auditor in the late 1960's. After 13 days of deliberation last fall, a Federal jury found that Andersen, one of the
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ANDERSON FIRM IS FOUND GUILTY OF FRAUD
NYTimes - over 35 years
A Federal Court jury in Manhattan yesterday found that Arthur Andersen & Company, one of the nation's biggest accounting firms, had committed fraud against a mutual fund called the Fund of Funds in the late 1960's. The verdict, reached after 13 days of deliberation, said that the accounting firm should pay damages of more than $80 million to the
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Bernard Cornfeld
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1995
    Age 67
    Bernard Cornfeld suffered a stroke and died of MRSA on February 27, 1995 in London, England.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 1979
    Age 51
    His trial did not take place until 1979 and lasted three weeks, with Judge Pierre Fournier finally acquitting Cornfeld.
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  • FORTIES
  • 1976
    Age 48
    In 1976 he married a former Christian Dior cosmetics model and cover girl Lorraine Dillon Armbruster at his Beverly Hills mansion Grayhall.
    More Details Hide Details However, he had difficulty settling down. Polygamy was "more in keeping with the nature of man than monogamy and a lot more fun," he insisted. He returned to Beverly Hills, living less ostentatiously than in his previous years. He developed an obsession for health foods and vitamins, renounced red meat and seldom drank alcohol. In his last years he was a chairman of a land development firm in Arizona and also owned a real estate company in Los Angeles. His marriage ended in divorce, and he is survived by a daughter Jessica Cornfeld.
  • 1973
    Age 45
    Consequently, he was charged with fraud in 1973 by the Swiss authorities.
    More Details Hide Details When Cornfeld visited Geneva, Swiss authorities arrested him. He served 11 months in a Swiss jail before being freed on a bail surety of US$600,000. Cornfeld always maintained his innocence.
  • 1969
    Age 41
    A group of 300 IOS employees complained to the Swiss authorities that Cornfeld and his co-founders pocketed part of the proceeds of a share issue raised among employees in 1969.
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    By March 1969, IOS was running out of operating money.
    More Details Hide Details At this point, a little-known American financier named Robert Vesco, head of the failing mini-conglomerate International Controls Corporation, offered his help with $5M, funds which had conceiveably originated as part of a larger loan from IOS to ICC. Vesco managed to take control of IOS, including the unregulated mutual funds, insurance assets, and real estate equity, after eventually evicting Cornfeld from the management. Having placed his men in key positions within IOS, Vesco ultimately succeeded in transferring over $200 million of cash belonging to the IOS funds, etc. into layered shell corporations domiciled in far-flung areas, and designed to hide the assets from international law enforcement authorities, and make the money available exclusively to Vesco and his allies. When the SEC issued a public complaint, Vesco fled to exile in a number of Caribbean hideaways, and was reported as having died in Cuba in 2008.
    The domicile (but not the offices) of IOS was switched to Canada, and the public offering took place there in the summer of 1969.
    More Details Hide Details Cornfeld decided that mutual funds should take their fees from the profits they made for their investors, not just a percentage of the money invested. That is the way the IOS Investment Program was structured. Unfortunately no other provision was made for operating funds and international stock markets suffered a bear market in late 1969. The value of the IOS mutual funds took a serious fall, eliminating income for IOS.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1962
    Age 34
    In 1962, IOS launched its "Fund of Funds," which meant investment in shares of other mutual funds, including some other IOS vehicles.
    More Details Hide Details The offering was popular in the bull market times, and Cornfeld's one-line pitch, "Do you sincerely want to be rich?" became a by-word for its success. During the next ten years, IOS raised in excess of US$2.5 billion, bringing Cornfeld a personal fortune which has been estimated as more than US$100 million. Cornfeld himself became known for flamboyance and lavish parties. Socially, he was generous and jovial, and generally surrounded by a bevy of beautiful young women, including for example Victoria Principal, later widely known as a star in the TV series "Dallas". At its peak, IOS employed around 25,000 salesmen, who sold a series of mutual funds door-to-door all over Europe, especially in Germany, to small investors. He originally targeted US expatriates and servicemen who had no access to US investing, but the main growth of the business came from the public in countries such as Germany and Italy, who had until then had no other easy access to investment vehicles of this kind. Cornfeld called it "people's capitalism."
  • TWENTIES
  • 1955
    Age 27
    In 1955, he left New York for Paris and started his own company selling mutual funds, using his savings of a mere few hundred dollars.
    More Details Hide Details The company was named Investors Overseas Services (IOS). By selling the mutual funds, mostly to American servicemen in Europe, Cornfeld was able to avoid both American and European tax regulations. As a US citizen he did not avoid US taxes, and the funds sold to US servicemen were US registered and based funds. In the early years the fund sold was mostly the Dreyfus Fund, which was small then, with assets of less than US$2 million.He had a close and friendly relationship with Jack Dreyfus, the founder, and when the management company of the Dreyfus Fund went public, IOS bought an almost 10% ownership in it. Cornfield and IOS fueled the early growth of the Dreyfus Fund from very small to several hundred million dollars, due to his marketing acumen, with brilliant advertising of a lion strolling down Broadway, and deft management of the fund.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1927
    Born
    Born on August 17, 1927.
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