General Discussion: I have 15k(ish) to invest - please advise me!


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swede
swede avatar

9720 posts since 21/3/09

posted 12 Mar 2021 14:11, edited 12 Mar 2021 14:11
MoB wrote: Hope nobody invested big in football index Shocked Eek

themistake wrote:
burny wrote: Have been buying bitcoin, bitcoin cash and litecoin On a monthly basis just a bit each month. Obviously it’s taking a hammering at the moment. Is now a good time to throw in a lump sum? And if so, anything other than those mentioned above?

Why are you putting money into crypto? What do you expect to happen?

I've mentioned this in the gambling thread but why don't you look into Football Index as an investment platform?

I've been trading since September and am up 30%, would hope to make it 50% by the end of the season.
The platform is young and has rapid market growth that shows no sustained dips.
There is expansion into new markets planned (they are currently advertising for jobs in Germany) which will only add more cash to a market where you (could) own shares.
It's currently a gambling platform but there's plans for it to be controlled by the FSA in the future.
The current back end is due to be replaced by Nasdaq matching system, which will draw bigger investors.

No brainer for me.

There's even a £500 money back offer to get you started risk free.

oh and if you want a comparison to bitcoin…


some other points to consider in this thread
https://twitter.com/SquaredFi/status/1231268863821729792

poor fucker. he was properly deep into it - really believed it was a guaranteed source of income/free money. just hope he didnt chuck all his life savings in/max out his credit card like some of the idiots on twitter

edit: those adverts vs bitcoin Laughing out loud they really were sailing very close to the wind
swede
swede avatar

9720 posts since 21/3/09

12 Mar 2021 14:14
thebigman wrote: Anyone holding XRP? Wondering whether to hold or not

shitcoin. not a real crypto. basically just paypal 2.0. i have a very small amount as FOMO if it hits ATH again (which it probably wont). deuce is in the hole for a good few k
RickRude
RickRude avatar

3876 posts since 13/1/12

12 Mar 2021 14:18
Ada dropping
Ocin
Ocin avatar

1385 posts since 4/6/04

posted 12 Mar 2021 15:51, edited 12 Mar 2021 15:51
Yeah - themistake got me looking into it, thankfully I thought at the time it looked unsustainable. Reading some horror stories on reddit about people with 6 figures in football index.

Interestingly, one of my holdings stands to profit from their administration, Begbies Traynor (BEG):

"We are pursuing a restructuring arrangement to be agreed with our stakeholders including most importantly, our community. We are preparing this through an administration with Insolvency Practitioners Begbies Traynor to seek the best outcome for customers with the goal of continuing the platform in a restructured way" - Should bring in a few quid.

BEG up 10% today Cool
quest
quest avatar

3671 posts since 11/7/11

12 Mar 2021 16:18
whole thing sounded like an A-level business studies project
Kadafi39
Kadafi39 avatar

1952 posts since 30/10/09

15 Mar 2021 16:02
The OPs advice came from an apt username.
sydneyking
sydneyking avatar

5010 posts since 26/9/09

15 Mar 2021 16:48
RickRude wrote: Ada dropping

Ada will be alright, in the long term I mean, it’s newer to the market so there’s still plenty of things which aren’t in place yet but looking at what is planned I think it’ll be fine
Crackajack
Crackajack avatar

7942 posts since 21/4/05

15 Mar 2021 18:07
Football index but hype clothing items, does this exist yet? New dimension to the game.
ARC
ARC avatar

452 posts since 29/1/09

15 Mar 2021 18:46
^ StockX? For sneakers at least
RickRude
RickRude avatar

3876 posts since 13/1/12

15 Mar 2021 18:57
sydneyking wrote:
RickRude wrote: Ada dropping

Ada will be alright, in the long term I mean, it’s newer to the market so there’s still plenty of things which aren’t in place yet but looking at what is planned I think it’ll be fine

Yeah i think so - I’m more in for longer run. I stuck some money into HEDERA Hashgraph at beginning of March when it was like 12 cents - Curently on 40 cents.

Losing a bit on MdX but that more of a 3-5 year hodl for me.

Some guy I know stuck £40k into Bitcoin when it was like £4k.
chinaski
chinaski avatar

353 posts since 15/7/10

15 Mar 2021 19:28
ENJ COIN

It's the leading DFT crypto and they are only going to get more popular
Byte
Byte avatar

3028 posts since 16/6/10

16 Mar 2021 17:43
ADA listed on Coinbase.
RickRude
RickRude avatar

3876 posts since 13/1/12

16 Mar 2021 17:47
Cool
MoB
MoB avatar

37153 posts since 31/8/04

posted 23 Mar 2021 12:30, edited 23 Mar 2021 12:30
MoB wrote: Hope nobody invested big in football index Shocked Eek

Good read https://theathletic.com/2463807/2021/03/23/football-index-crash-the-whistleblowers-we-were-almost-in-denial/

Edit: for those without a sub

Football Index crash: The whistleblowers - 'We were almost in denial'
In January 2020, Football Index was booming, the company spread over two floors of a packed WeWork building near Paddington Station in central London. The work was hectic, but afterwards, staff broke away to play pool and drink pints on the rooftop.

“It was literally the dream job,” says one former employee, speaking on condition of anonymity owing to fear of compromising the hunt for a new job, as well as not wanting to “be in a Netflix documentary” about the biggest disaster to afflict gamblers in British history.

“We loved nothing more than seeing the numbers go up,” they add. “We were almost in denial. We fell for the dream as much as the traders did. That’s why it’s been so shocking.”

That same month, 100 miles away at the Gambling Commission’s offices in central Birmingham, regulators were presented with an eerily prescient document by industry experts warning about how the company was a “pyramid scheme” deeply vulnerable to a sudden collapse:

Over the past two weeks, the company, which sells virtual “shares” in footballers and pays out cash “dividends”, has been put into administration and had its gambling licence suspended, with customers losing huge sums of money.

Last week the Gambling Commission announced that it had been investigating the company since May, despite the “pyramid scheme” warning coming four months earlier before COVID-19 made an understandable dent in the company’s finances.

Several former employees and industry insiders believe regulators had little understanding about the intricacies of a product that was advertised on football shirts, London taxis, Sky Sports TV and talkSPORT radio, as well as some of The Athletic’s podcasts.

Thousands of Football Index users, many of whom have lost tens of thousands of pounds, have instructed solicitors to represent their interests in Football Index’s administration. Nichola Marshall, a partner at law firm Leigh Day which is co-ordinating a potential claim alongside campaign group Clean Up Gambling, has said “there are serious questions which will need answering regarding what has happened at Football Index and what the Gambling Commission understood of Football Index’s activities.”

Dozens have told The Athletic about the financial and mental devastation caused by the company’s collapse, which came suddenly after multiple statements suggesting Football Index was in good financial health.

“We took the very difficult decision to suspend the platform earlier this month because we were overtaken by fast-moving events. Our decision to cut dividends was taken on the best professional advice with the intention of keeping the business solvent,” said a Football Index spokesperson.

“At no time did we knowingly give false confidence to our community. We genuinely believed that we would come through this very tough period, until it became obvious that prevailing market conditions had made that impossible.”

Based on multiple interviews with former Football Index employees and other gambling industry insiders, most conducted under the condition of anonymity given the legal and commercial sensitivity of the issue for those involved, The Athletic can reveal:

The “chaos” of working for the company that announced it was entering administration on Twitter and then informed employees via email 45 minutes later
Accusations the site was operating “like a cash point” with the instant sell function — whereby users could cash out their stock immediately — pumping up an unsustainable bubble
A leaked document revealing how the Gambling Commission was warned in January 2020 how Football Index boasted that just two per cent of users lost money, suggesting a “pyramid scheme” model
The links between Football Index and some of British gambling’s most senior figures
The Gambling Commission faces questions about how it came to regulate such a controversial and complex product
What was working there like?

A separate former employee says it was “chaos” working for Football Index, particularly after the pandemic hit. The complexity of the product, combined with frequent changes to game rules and the terms and conditions, made it very difficult for all employees to understand everything that was going on. One former employee alleges there was no real plan to attain long-term, sustainable growth.

“You never knew until the very last moment what was going to change on the platform,” the employee says. “This is what traders have been finding hard to believe — the people involved didn’t know.”

Although the problems seem obvious in hindsight, many former Football Index employees speak fondly of the experience working for a company that created an exciting and warm working environment and sat at the heart of a passionate online community that loved the product.

“It was quite a fun place to work,” says one former employee. “They had this product and everyone was making money. All the traders were loving them.”

But feelings have soured amid the chaos of recent weeks, especially since the company announced last week it was suspending the platform and entering administration.

The Athletic can reveal that employees were informed by email 45 minutes after the statement was uploaded to the company’s website and shared on social media, leading to “fury” on an all-hands online meeting the next day.

“That is what hurts the most,” says one.

‘A cash point’

When the UK went into lockdown last March, the Football Index hierarchy worried about users pulling out all their money and risking bankrupting the platform.

“When COVID hit, we were told that they wanted to build a market that didn’t crash overnight,” says the former employee. “The way to do that was to remove ‘instant sell’ so nobody could pull the plug instantly.”

Instant sell worked rather like a “cash out” feature in conventional gambling. Players could sell their shares at a guaranteed price, giving them the option of pulling their money out quickly.

Three years ago, Football Index founder Adam Cole’s described the instant sell feature as a way to “provide liquidity” in the market. He told RSNG, an online men’s magazine: “We took a massive risk in going from an eBay model – where the seller always waits for a buyer – to us stepping into the market to provide the liquidity because traders often want to liquidate their positions instantly. If it had gone wrong, it could have bankrupted us – but luckily this leap of faith paid off.”

This function was turned off in March 2020, however, as the site moved back to a so-called “order book” system or “eBay model”, which would mean player “shares” would float freely, having to wait for a buyer before they could pull out their cash.

This was seen as a good thing by many in the community at the time, who considered it part and parcel of platform offering what they believed was an advanced financial product. But it dramatically increased the risk of the platform, because people could no longer pull their cash out quickly, at close to its supposed value, if disaster struck.

“Basically what the instant sell was doing was creating a buffer so the share price could not drop,” says a separate former employee. “There was this massive bubble of cash supported by instant sell.

“The traders were basically viewing it as a cash machine. You didn’t even have to be that good…if you put in a hundred quid it just goes up, with instant sell, it came back, like a cashpoint.”

Confidence was high and many tweets by the company’s leaders use rocket emojis, an internet meme implying investments will go up and up, “to the moon”.

When instant sell was removed, more customers wanted to sell. It also made traders realise that the value in people’s portfolios did not necessarily represent real money that could be turned into cash. Cash dividend payments were then increased in September last year which reassured users and pumped up share prices. But this did not stop a general downward pressure on prices from last March onwards.

A spokesperson for Football Index said: “Instant Sell was removed in March 2020 at the outset of the pandemic because of uncertain trading conditions in accordance with the conditions clearly set out in the Terms of Use. This was clearly communicated to customers and, at the time, was broadly welcomed as a way to stabilize prices whilst trading continued”.

The previous year, Football Index announced a tie-up with NASDAQ, an American stock exchange to beef up the platform’s tech and make it more sustainable in the long term.

But according to one former employee the NASDAQ rhetoric was “overhyped” and simply more evidence of the company’s “constant underdelivering”.

The constant bold aspirations about NASDAQ integration and the apparently rosy picture of the company’s finances that was painted as recently as last month are repeatedly cited by users who piled more and more money into the platform, some of them taking on debt or otherwise overextending themselves financially in order to do so.

The bombshell Football Index statement this month announcing the cut to dividends which caused share prices to collapse addressed the NASDAQ issue directly.

“Last year we hit a crucial milestone when we completed our initial integration which allowed us to successfully pass test trades between our platform and Nasdaq,” the statement said “But, in the spirit of full disclosure, there’s still more work to be done…we’ve made the decision to hit pause on NASDAQ integration till later in the year.”

Links to big figures in the UK gambling industry

Much of the criticism of the company so far has focused on founder Cole and CEO Mike Bohan. But The Athletic can reveal that some of the UK gambling sector’s most prominent names were also deeply involved with the company, raising questions about why they backed the controversial company and what they knew of its methods.

Just two weeks ago, Brian Mattingley was announced as the new chair of gambling software giant Playtech, a role he will begin on June 1. He has spent the decade at the helm of 888 Group, another British gambling giant. Both companies are listed on the FTSE 250 stock exchange.

Mattingley became a non-executive director of Football Index in September 2018. Companies House records show his directorship was officially terminated on April 30, 2020.

When contacted by The Athletic, a spokesman for Mr Mattingley said he had “made it clear he was leaving on February 4 2020 and was not aware of any issues with the company,” a spokesperson told The Athletic.

Also pictured in the above photo with Mattingley, alongside Football Index founder Adam Cole, is Mark Blandford, a key figure in the early days of British online gambling as founder of Sportingbet, and now a major investor in the sector.

In an interview from three years ago, Football Index founder Cole explained how a £1.9m investment from Blandford’s Burlywood Capital was vital to getting the concept off the ground. Blandford joined the board as a non-executive chairman in October 2018. Mr Blandford has not responded to The Athletic’s requests for comment.

What does the Gambling Commission say?

The Gambling Commission generally has a rule of not commenting on individual cases or ongoing investigations, but it made an exception last week given the huge public interest in the Football Index case.

The statement explains how a “formal review” into BetIndex Limited, Football Index’s operating company which is licensed in Jersey, began in May 2020.

This review “utilised betting specialist expertise, a forensic financial accountant and specialist external QC to examine the business model, the finances of the company and the complex legal questions over the appropriate regulatory framework”.

A commission spokesperson told The Athletic: “We suspended the BetIndex licence on March 11, 2021, as that was the first point where we had sufficient evidence to demonstrate that suspension was necessary.”

Critics of the commission say the warnings signs were there as early as last year.

The law firm Leigh Day, representing thousands of users, is writing to the Gambling Commission as well as Oliver Dowden, minister for digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS), about the issue.

“Football Index has brought into sharp focus the inadequacy of the approach taken by the Gambling Commission and DCMS to regulation,” says Matt Zarb-Cousin of Clean Up Gambling. “They should have ensured they fully understood the product before licensing it. Too often, the regulator has given operators the benefit of the doubt instead of doing proper due diligence, so a licence to operate gambling has been easy to acquire. It should be a privilege, not a right. The public expects that of a regulated sector.”

“They were so confused by it all”

In June 2020, founder Cole appeared as a guest on the Football Index Guide podcast.

“We are a completely unique product,” he said. “To be honest the Gambling Commission doesn’t fully understand all the ins and outs of our business model.”

This is borne out by conversations with other employees in the company, speaking after the crash who say that the regulator was asking them as many questions as they were asking it.

Another employee says the commission did raise concerns about Instant Sell before the function was axed, and carried out audits, adding that compliance seemed to ramp up in early 2020, after the warning signs started appearing.

Discussions with multiple former employees and other industry insiders make clear that because the product was so unlike anything else on the market, there was deep confusion in the firm and beyond as to what exactly was going on or how the platform worked.

“We never had any training as to how the product worked,” says one. “The customers would come at us with questions, and we’d think ‘well, we don’t f****** know’.”

One of the key contradictions at the heart of the Football Index saga is that, while the company was regulated as a gambling website, it was for a while marketed as a “virtual stockmarket”. In September 2019 the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency called the company’s advertising “irresponsible” after upholding a complaint about the product being presented “as an investment opportunity” and “not making the risks clear”.

After this, the company’s marketing included more overt references to gambling. But the investment-like nature of the product, with language of shares, dividends and the “virtual stockmarket”, did not go away particularly in the minds of “traders”.

Several former employees suspect the company’s leadership wanted people to believe they should be regulated as a financial product by the Financial Conduct Authority, rather than a betting product licensed by the Gambling Commission.

“But that made no sense,” said one. “We weren’t trading anything real. We were selling thin air.”

There are numerous tweets from Football Index fans likening the product to an “investment” rather than a gambling product.

“Replacing my (Individual Savings Account) for Football Index and using that as my bank is probably the best decision I’ve ever made,” said one.

A pyramid scheme?

The Gambling Commission began an investigation in May 2020 but it has also emerged that a group of industry experts approached the regulator four months earlier and presented them with a document warning how the product was a “pyramid scheme”, a story first reported by the Guardian.

The Athletic has obtained a full copy of the document, which warns of the company’s “pyramid structure” and the risks of a “bank run”.



Given this document was presented to the commission two months before the pandemic, and associated financial difficulties faced across the UK economy, it is particularly foreboding.

The Athletic can reveal one startling piece of information which adds extra weight to the idea that Football Index could have been a “pyramid scheme” in which payouts were directly linked to new users flowing in.

The results of a customer survey posted to the Football Index official website said that just two per cent of users lost money on the platform, a figure with which former employees were also very familiar.

Such a small percentage is simply impossible to square with any conventional business model in the gambling industry, in which a small number of winners are financed by a large pool of losers.



“The marketing team was constantly churning out offers and bonuses to keep up the upward trend,” says a former employee. “They wanted the market to be always going upwards, but that doesn’t happen.”

“Contrary to ill-informed claims, our business model does not, and never has, relied on new users coming into the market,” says a spokesperson for Football Index. “Suggestions that the platform bears any comparison to a pyramid scheme are based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how the platform operates. Football Index is a gambling product which was licensed and regulated by the Gambling Commission and operated within a tightly regulated industry.

The company made money by charging two per cent commission on trades (or bets), something which appears to have been widely understood by the community, even if other aspects of the business model were not.

What next?

Users have been left devastated by the collapse of Football Index and are now waiting on legal advice to see if they can recover any of their money, while undergoing the shock and humiliation of explaining to family and friends how they lost so much on something they thought was a stable investment.

Big questions will be asked of the gambling regulator and DCMS in the British government’s upcoming review into the gambling industry, which will also look at football shirt sponsorships. The Athletic recently revealed multiple Premier League clubs’ role in facilitating “illegal” gambling in Asia, sponsored by companies given “white label” licences by the Gambling Commission.

“For too long, unsuitable individuals and companies have been given licences to operate in the British gambling market, undermining the standards of our market, the credibility of our regulator and the rights of consumers,” says Dr James Noyes of the Social Market Foundation. “The Gambling Commission should conduct a full audit of the suitability of all remote gambling operators. Football Index confirms to us that the need for this audit is urgent.”

Although the situation for former employees is not comparable with that of customers who have lost tens of thousands of pounds overnight, many are left devastated about the collapse of a company that they simply did not see coming. Lots have received online abuse after the crash, with addresses and mobile numbers of former employees circulating on social media, as the relentless optimism of the company has turned to bitterness and recrimination.

“We were all told that this was something different. It seemed that everyone could win, and we were safer than other gambling companies,” says one former employee. “I’ve got friends who have lost thousands and I don’t know if I’ll be able to look them in the face again.”
smith
smith avatar

11306 posts since 5/5/04

23 Mar 2021 13:02
Thanks for sharing. Good read that.
themistake
themistake avatar

10833 posts since 20/2/06

23 Mar 2021 13:11
I have been speaking to Joey and helping out with his articles.
There's not many journalists or news outlets that can understand or grasp whats happened at FI.
Which is to be expected, most people get confused by the 'stock market' angle of FI, but ultimately they were a bookmaker that took bets that it couldn't afford to pay out. And that is the fault of the management, their PWC accountants and the gambling commission for not regulating a tier 1 bookmaker.
The ramifications for this are going to be far and wide.
Brian Damage
Brian Damage avatar

8027 posts since 21/10/03

23 Mar 2021 13:14
How's themistake bearing up, he was long gone with this scheme
Rez
Rez avatar

8665 posts since 5/4/09

23 Mar 2021 13:35
full document from the source posted here:



Shocking stuff, gambling commission completely at fault imo
themistake
themistake avatar

10833 posts since 20/2/06

23 Mar 2021 13:48
Rez wrote: Shocking stuff, gambling commission completely at fault imo

Yeah, they are. And there needs to be immediate action on similar companies operating. I know someone on here was posting about SoRare.
That isn't even regulated by anyone and is taking bets for some players at £50k a pop. Just to play a game for the chance to win £30, you have to spend £1000+ on players. And the current licensed players are pretty shite, so will just be replaced by better players once more licensees come onboard, reducing the value of your players/bets.
swede
swede avatar

9720 posts since 21/3/09

posted 23 Mar 2021 16:36, edited 23 Mar 2021 16:36
how much you get done for chap? any chance of getting anything back?