At the height of his brief career, Alan B. Bond was a Wall Street phenom, a rich and telegenic guru whose stock picks were eagerly parsed during the great bull market of the 1990s.
But now Bond, like the market, has crashed to Earth, and the reverberations
are being felt in Maryland. Investigators are probing investments he made on
behalf of the state's biggest public-employee pension fund.
New York City jail awaiting sentencing. In June, jurors
deliberated for barely an hour before convicting him of swindling millions of
dollars from clients. On Friday, he pleaded guilty to additional charges of
conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion in an unrelated scheme.
Records show that the 41-year-old investor once owned 75 luxury and antique
cars, as well as homes in two states. His assets are frozen, his business is
shuttered, and he is relying on a public defender.
His bail - backed by a mortgage on his parents' home - was yanked after the
June conviction. The judge sent him away in handcuffs, noting scornfully that
the victims in the case were people who had "trusted Mr. Bond at a time when
others were abandoning him."
Among them: Baltimore money manager Nathan A. Chapman Jr., a fellow star
among African-American financiers. Chapman had been hired to find minority-run
investment firms for the State Retirement and Pension System, operated on
behalf of thousands of teachers, police officers and other government workers
and retirees. He selected Bond as a "sub-manager" and entrusted $33 million of
the state's cash to him.
Bond used more than $5 million of that money to buy stock in companies
largely owned and operated by Chapman. The investments boosted the fledgling
firms but lost money. Federal and state authorities are now investigating the
transactions, which experts say appear to represent a conflict of interest and
may be illegal.
Bond's fall has been almost as sharp as his rise. He was born in Queens,
the son of a teacher. He graduated with honors from Jamaica High School, a New
York public school, then received a bachelor's degree in economics from
Dartmouth in 1983 and a master's in business administration from Harvard in
He began his career as a sales associate at Wall Street's blue-chip Goldman
Sachs Group Inc. but was accused of inflating his expense account and fired in
1989, according to testimony at his trial.
It was a minor setback. Bond, who through his attorney declined to comment
for this article, became a portfolio manager for W.R. Lazard & Co., then the
nation's largest black-owned money management firm.
Soon he was rubbing shoulders with Harrison J. Goldin, who had just retired
as New York City comptroller and wanted to create his own African-American
Goldin introduced Bond to John and Ernesta Procope, owners of the venerable
E.G. Bowman Co., the largest black-owned insurance brokerage. They decided to
join Goldin in backing the new venture, which Bond would lead.
Bond, Procope Capital Management went into business in 1991, making Alan
Bond one of the youngest African-American chief executive officers on Wall
"We thought with his credentials, this would be something great," John
Procope said. "Blacks don't have that kind of opportunity that often."
A few months later, Bond made a splash by winning a popular contest in The
Wall Street Journal, in which stock picks by professionals were matched
against random selections made by the newspaper's staff using a dartboard.
Bond's imaginary portfolio returned 37.5 percent over six months.
Bond became a fixture on PBS's Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser,
traveling from his home in Montclair, N.J., to Owings Mills for tapings. He
was one of the "elves" who predicted market trends. He was also a guest on
CNBC and was widely quoted in newspapers and magazines.
Each year he brought scores of inner city kids to his offices for
investment seminars, a program called A Day on Wall Street that was designed
to expose the children to high finance.
Anthony Chappelle, publisher of Securities Pro, a newsletter about
African-American financial professionals, said Bond established himself as
player on Wall Street, and his company grew to be one of the biggest
black-owned investment firms.