‘Forbes Curse’ strikes once again – financial institutions rated ‘excellent’ by failing magazine are collapsing days later
03/16/2023 // JD Heyes // Views

Just weeks before regulators seized control of Silicon Valley Bank due to its inability to meet withdrawal demands, the bank had proudly made Forbes's annual list of America's Best Banks. In a Twitter post last week, the bank celebrated the achievement and highlighted its five consecutive years on the list.

But Forbes's prestigious lists have been criticized in the past for featuring people and businesses that have ultimately failed, especially over the last decade, the UK's Daily Mail reported. Forbes's prestigious lists have included public figures who were later involved in ungraceful failures, such as Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX, Adam Neumann of WeWork, and Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos.

"Proud to be on @Forbes' annual ranking of America's Best Banks for the 5th straight year and to have also been named to the publication's inaugural Financial All-Stars list," the bank tweeted on Monday last week, ahead of collapsing on Friday and having to be taken over by the Federal Reserve.

Following its inability to meet withdrawal demands, Silicon Valley Bank has since deleted its Twitter account, and its website has been taken down. An editorial note was added to the 2023 America's Best Banks page on the Forbes website after the SVB bankruptcy, the UK outlet noted.

It said: "[Editor's Note: After this list was published on February 16, 2023, SVB Financial Group's Silicon Valley Bank collapsed and was placed under FDIC control on March 10 due to a bank run prompted by fears about its interest rate exposure.]

Recent events such as the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX and its affiliated company Alameda Research have also affected those who were once celebrated by the prestigious American business magazine.


Bankman-Fried was featured on the cover of Forbes magazine's 40th annual Forbes 400 list in October 2021, which lists the 400 wealthiest Americans. The accompanying article described the disgraced 'crypto king' as someone who was aiming to earn as much money as possible in order to put it towards positive purposes.

"He is an 'effective altruist', which is sort of a Silicon Valley slant on philanthropy that relies on reason and data to do the most good in the world," the story said.

Last year, FTX experienced a surge in attempts to withdraw funds and eventually collapsed due to a lack of liquidity. Bankman-Fried, who had based FTX in the Bahamas, was extradited to the US to face criminal charges in a Manhattan court. He has since been released on bail and is awaiting a fraud trial scheduled for October 2, the Daily Mail noted further.

Adam Neumann, a former Israeli American co-founder of WeWork, was once praised as one of the most promising young business leaders globally and featured on the cover of Forbes in October 2017. Neumann's goal was to disrupt the commercial real estate sector, but similar to some of his peers celebrated by Forbes, his ambition led him to overreach. The unsustainable expansion of WeWork and a failed IPO in 2019 resulted in his resignation as CEO.

The rise and fall of WeWork was so dramatic that it was even documented in the television series WeCrashed, with Jared Leto playing the role of the eccentric Neumann. Neumann was known for walking around barefoot, smoking weed, and drinking tequila, the report said.

Elizabeth Holmes was listed by Forbes as one of the richest women on the planet in 2014, and she graced the cover of the magazine's September 2015 issue. She was the founder of Theranos, a startup with ambitious plans to revolutionize blood-testing. However, the technology soon came under scrutiny, and in 2015, a damning Wall Street Journal investigation marked the beginning of Holmes's downfall.

The report revealed that the vast majority of its tests were done with traditional vials of blood drawn from the arm, and not the 'few drops' taken by a finger prick as was initially claimed. In November 2022, Holmes was sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison for wire fraud and defrauding investors of hundreds of millions of dollars.

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