Anyone who is on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook or TikTok often comes across offers that sound tempting: from weight loss powder to lucrative investments. In our series, reporter Judith Henke takes a look at these products. What is behind it, how serious are you?
Male readers who are still looking for a suitable perfume – watch out: I heard that the Ombre Nomade fragrance from Louis Vuitton is supposed to be good. From where I know this?
Michael Jakob, head of the stock analysis provider “AlleAktien” revealed this on his company’s Instagram profile. More specifically, he used the words “Ombre Nomade (Louis Vitton) is a can opener” in said Instagram story.
That phrase — by which he means the perfume would resonate with women — is a bit unusual for an executive at a company that claims to sell professional analysis.
But perhaps “AlleAktien” boss Michael Jakob can simply allow himself this external presentation. After all, he seems to be a genius investor. His depot, which he discloses to premium users who pay 29 euros a month for stock analyses, seems to be performing better than that of most professional investors.
It is said to have grown by 26.5 percent per year since 2013 – that would be an eightfold increase in capital, including compound interest. I can hardly believe that this is possible – and that’s why I asked Michael Jakob to prove this insane performance for me. There was no answer.
But maybe I’m just too skeptical. After all, even the “WirtschaftsWoche” has already written about “AlleAktien” that the company creates “Germany’s best stock analyses.” At least that’s what “AlleAktien” advertised on Instagram.
It is rare for a renowned business magazine to make such a judgment. I can understand that “AlleAktien” boss Michael Jakob is proud of it. I searched the WirtschaftsWoche archive to see the context in which this great praise was expressed. But I couldn’t find the phrase “Germany’s best stock analyses” in connection with “AlleAktien”.
Have I just not searched hard enough? To be on the safe side, I ask the “WirtschaftsWoche” directly and find out: The reason I couldn’t find the statement in the archive is that it was never made.
But what is true: Michael Jakob has already been interviewed by the “WirtschaftsWoche”, for example for the podcast “Money Mates”, where he talks about the right key figures and the right dividend strategy. WELT has also asked him for assessments, such as which stocks fit best into a youth portfolio.
“AlleAktien” is particularly popular with young investors, and the company page has more than 86,000 followers on Instagram. The company’s website has analyzes of countless companies. “AlleAktien” has developed its own score to assess whether a company has future potential. The research company advertises that it is independent – and above all wants to help long-term investors with their investment decisions.
Sounds useful – some companies probably think so too. At least that’s what “AlleAktien” writes on its website. “Employees of the best companies rely on AlleAktien Premium” it says there. But which companies it is, I do not know at the moment. “The list is continuously updated” is just underneath.
Almost two weeks ago, things looked very different. At that time, 16 companies and research institutions with logos were still visible on the website – including the “Axel Springer” publishing house, to which WELT also belongs.
When I saw the list, I asked myself: why is it called “employees of the best companies” and not just “companies” directly? Does that mean that as soon as some employee of a huge company or research institute has used “AllAktien”, the analysis company advertises it on the website? Do the companies even know how lucky they were to have been mentioned there for advertising purposes?
I simply asked each and every one of them, and a total of thirteen – including “Axel Springer” – answered me. Only one company, Volksbank Althausen, affirms that it uses “AlleAktien”. It serves “for internal purposes as a supplementary source of information,” said the spokesman.
But the tenor of the other twelve companies that answered me is: There is no official cooperation, at most individual employees might use it.
A couple of the speakers told me that they have now also contacted AlleAktien and asked that their logo be removed from the website. And so, in less than two weeks, an illustrious lineup of companies and universities became a succinct update notice.
If this advertising promise is already exaggerated – what about other statements that “AlleAktien” makes in order to win the trust of customers?
For example this one: The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) would “randomly” check the stock analyzes for “quality, correctness” and “compliance with the highest professional standards”. According to Section 86 of the Securities Trading Act, “AlleAktien” is a professional research provider. “AlleAktien” uses this to advertise in an Instagram story.
I’m thrilled: Until now, I didn’t even know that BaFin had the personnel capacity to check analyzes on a random basis. I had always only believed what was written on the website of the supervisory authority itself. Because there it says: “In contrast to credit and financial service institutions, the legislator has not provided for a regular examination of the institution-independent creators and / or distributors of investment recommendations.”
Is the BaFin website outdated and I didn’t realize that these random checks of analyzes have recently been introduced? To be on the safe side, I ask the supervisory authority, but they also refer to the information on their website, which I already know.
According to a spokeswoman, BaFin monitors whether the minimum requirements of the Market Abuse Regulation and the Delegated Regulation are met. That means analytics providers must disclose circumstances that could affect the objectivity of their recommendation and minimize conflicts of interest.
So if it’s not really true that BaFin checks the analyzes on a random basis – is “AlleAktien” allowed to use it for advertising at all? I ask Niels Nauhauser from the consumer center in Baden-Württemberg. His clear answer: “I consider the advertising statement to be unfair and therefore illegal.”
This also applies to the statement that the WirtschaftsWoche wrote that the company creates the best stock analyzes in Germany. Franz Burchert, lawyer for competition law at Burchert and Partner, also considers the BaFin statement to be questionable, here the accusation of misleading advertising is very close.
But if you are not deterred by something like this, high returns await you. At least that’s what “AlleAktien” promises to everyone who buys the “AlleAktien Dividend Depot”. The sample portfolio has been available since December 2021, according to the website it is “perfect for beginners or advanced users who do not want to forego dividends or growth.”
The goal is to achieve a 2.4 percent dividend yield and more than 10 percent total return per year. For comparison: investors who bet on the MSCI World Index between 2008 and 2021 achieved an average return of 9.8 percent.
“AlleAktien” wants to beat the market with its dividend portfolio. A table in which “AlleAktien” compares the performance of an average private investor portfolio with that of the “AlleAktien dividend portfolio” even mentions annual returns of 12 to 15 percent.
Are such promises even appropriate? Here, too, I ask consumer advocate Niels Nauhauser. “A return promise of 12 to 15 percent is without a doubt completely dubious,” he says. There is simply no investment strategy that can guarantee such a high positive minimum return.
Ironically, “AlleAktien” boss Michael Jakob also advises in an Instagram story to become skeptical about promises of returns of between 12 and 15 percent. Then the investor should check, among other things, what the person making these promises has done before.
Then I’ll do it straight away: According to his own statements, Michael Jakob worked at the Swiss bank UBS and the consulting firm McKinsey before founding “AlleAktien”.
An impressive CV, especially for someone who is not even 30 years old. The founder knows this and even advertises it on his website. But a look at his LinkedIn profile shows that the work experience at UBS was only an internship of about six months.
On the other hand, Michael Jakob is silent about other stations in his career. In 2016, for example, he founded the “swiss-german-learning” learning platform. In an article in the Swiss newspaper “Tagblatt”, he explains how the idea came to him when he himself moved from Bavaria to Switzerland to study.
The learning platform is said to contain a “Swiss German-High German dictionary” that has over 30,000 entries – according to Jakob the “most extensive on the web”, as the newspaper writes.
Sounds impressive – why doesn’t he advertise it on his “AlleAktien” website? I found the answer in another article by a Swiss medium – this time the consumer magazine “Espresso” from the TV channel SRF. “Swiss German course turns out to be a subscription trap,” says the headline in large letters.
According to the report, the course was of inferior quality and entire text passages were copied from Wikipedia. A customer who had paid 118 francs for the course contacted the station at the time – I also managed to speak to her.
Lisa Schmidt, whose real name I know, tells me that she moved to Switzerland because of love. She quickly realized that learning Swiss German was a major challenge. So she decided to use the learning platform “Learn Swiss German”. A mistake, as she quickly realized.
Schmidt was annoyed about the bad buy, but since she only lost 118 francs as a result, the incident was quickly forgotten. But a year later, in December 2020, she was again debited 118 francs. “I never realized I had a subscription. That wasn’t made transparent,” she emphasizes.
So she contacted the operator of the website, Michael Jakob – without success. Schmidt, who is a journalist herself, took another look at the learning platform and remarked: “Under the blog articles, even more desperate customers wrote that they want their money back.”
When Lisa Schmidt realized that she was not the only victim, she contacted the SRF “Espresso” editorial team. “The entire money was returned to me on the day it was broadcast and Mr. Jakob wrote me a regretful email,” she says.
That was the end of the matter for Schmidt – until I contacted her. Out of curiosity, Schmidt checked again whether the Swiss German learning site still existed. Lo and behold: only the domain is different, no longer “ch” but “com.”
So is the course still there? I go to the side myself. Michael Jakob’s name no longer appears anywhere, in the imprint there is a company based in Singapore – a country that is not exactly known for its transparency. So I asked Michael Jakob himself if he still operates the platform.
But I don’t get an answer to my questions. An employee of “AlleAktien” writes to me that Mr. Jakob is well planned. The next day, the well-planned Michael Jakob again posts several Instagram stories, including a kind of to-do list for his day. Already done: walk and morning workout.