The original myCFO, conceived as a wealth management operation, was the idea of James H. Clark, co-founder of Netscape. Financial backing came from John Doerr, “dean of Silicon Valley venture capitalists” and others.
Wealth management seems to have been a hard sell. But tax shelters were a hot commodity among Silicon Valley's new rich:
MyCFO's main tax shelter, sold to 17 clients, was called Cards, for Custom Adjustable Rate Debt Structure. Each involved an ostensible 30-year bank loan to a foreign party for $50 million to $100 million. MyCFO's client then assumed the loan and, after some complex swapping of collateral, claimed a loss for tax purposes of nearly the full amount of the loan. Others besides myCFO also marketed Cards.Reportedly, Bank of Montreal paid $30 million for the myCFO name, list of clients and certain other assets.
The IRS in March 2002 ruled Cards invalid. Largely as a result, myCFO sold its name and client list and liquidated its tax business.