The emerging genre of regulatory filings as performance art
This is a marvelously weird apparent prank.
There seems to be an actual entity — it’s registered in Wisconsin — called YNOFACE Holdings Inc, which said in a SEC filing Wednesday that it had acquired more than 4.2 bn shares of Bank of America on September 22, and nearly 800 million shares on August 15 with an exchange of shares.
That’s a lot of shares, and pretty clearly a hoax — though, oddly, the Form 4 filing is still up there. (The purchase of 4.2 billion shares would have cost $66bn. Bank of America’s entire market cap is $171bn.)
As Reuters first reported, the company is run by one Antonio L Lee, who is described on his website as an “American entrepreneur, world renowned artist, and YouTube celebrity specializing in acrylic painting” who is “well known for his work in the field of Scientific and Performance Art”.
Reuters compares the filing to other SEC-filing scams like the fake Avon Products takeover bid, but we think it fits into a colourful trend of oddball regulatory filings meant to make a statement, not a profit.
So far, most of the other such statements have been lobbying efforts under (probable) pen names:
But this statement from YNoFace is a bit more inscrutable and strange than most.
- RT Leuchtkafer, a regular commentator on high-frequency trading who says he’s based in New York. Dark Pools postulates that Leuchtkafer is a nom de plume, since it means “lightning bug” in German. (Get it? Lighting-fast traders? Bugging them?)
- Danny Mulson, who claimed to be an eighth-grader in the nonexistent town of Wetlawn, Oregon.
- Jane Carson, an “80 year old individual investor” based in New York with a uncannily strong grasp of market structure. We were able to find one Jane Carson in the New York area, with an address the Bronx and a disconnected number.
We sent Lee a Facebook message, and got no response. We also called the phone number listed on the company’s Form D filing twice, but couldn’t leave a message because it doesn’t have a voice mailbox. We also left a comment on Lee’s website. We really want to talk to this guy.
Here’s one of the more safe-for-work paintings we found on YNoFace’s Facebook page. It appears to be a dancer and a squirrel, and three children. (Are the children riding the squirrel, or standing behind it? Who can know?)...
There are some paintings about finance as well, as you’d expect:......MORE, so much more.
Hey, the figures have no faces!