Given the news about Football Index, which we covered in some detail in a post the other day, it obviously makes sense to wrap up this review now.
In case you missed it, essentially Football Index are in financial trouble and have had to cut dividends by over 60%. That led to a crash in users’ portfolio values and a storm of understandable bitterness and anger on social media from people who felt they had been misled by the company. Our view is that Football Index is living on borrowed time in its current form and barring a miraculous turnaround or buyout and restructure, will have to face closing its doors at some stage with so little revenue coming in.
This obviously leaves Football Index Trader (run by a chap called Adam) in a sticky position and you have to feel for him given this was his main occupation. Adam is soldiering on for now whilst Football Index is still going, although members have been given the option to pause their subscriptions.
In terms of the Football Index Trader (or FIT for short) service itself, as we commented in the review below we thought it was excellent. The research was always in-depth and the analysis high quality. There were a high proportion of selections picked out in scouting who went on to perform very well and whilst there were a few who didn’t quite hit the mark, you are never going to have a 100% success rate but on the whole members would have done well following FIT’s advice.
It is obviously no fault of Adam’s that Football Index has got itself into this mess so all we can do really is wrap up this review and say if Football Index had been a well-managed platform and achieved the potential it had, then FIT would have been an excellent resource for people wanting to get the most out of the platform.
If as we say there is some miraculous turnaround or a buyout and restructure, then perhaps it could be once again, although trust with Football Index has been so thoroughly destroyed it is difficult to envisage a way back for it from here.
In any event, we imagine Adam’s skills could be easily transferred to one of the other platforms like Footstock or Sorare should he choose, but we could understand full well if he wants to take his career in another direction after what has happened at Football Index.
So alas all we can say really is that Football Index Trader would have received a resounding PASSED rating, but sadly that looks like rather a moot point now.
Football Index Trader – Update
28th January 2021
In our last update we covered some of the key features of FIT including “Scouting,” “State of the Market” and the live blogs. Those are really the core of the service but there are some other features as well which we will take a look at today.
Before getting onto those however, it is worth reporting that there has been a bounce back in the market following a recent announcement from Football Index regarding a change to the dividend structure that removes in-play dividends and replaces them with “match day extra” dividends, which you can read about here.
This announcement seems to have restored confidence in the platform and got it back to its USP of being more of a long-term trading platform where you are betting on players’ careers (or three years of their careers, at least).
In addition to the general market improvement there have been some really good picks from FIT lately which have been winning dividends and increasing in price, including:
- – Mason Mount
- – Joao Cancelo
- – Bukayo Saka
- – Harry Maguire
- – Riyad Mahrez
- – Thomas Muller
And plenty more besides. As mentioned last time however, it is whether you have the funds to buy all these players, or any of them for that matter if you already have your funds invested.
So there is also the question of portfolio management and availability of funds when following the service. Presuming you do have some funds to buy new players (perhaps from ongoing dividends you are receiving) then FIT has been very adept at picking out players likely to win dividends soon and therefore increase in price.
Anyway, let’s move on to looking at the other aspects of the service:-
This is where players are given star ratings based on their current performance and potential performance. Ratings are organised by position – goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and attacker and can be sorted by club or ratings top to bottom.
Five stars is for “elite” players who are expected to challenge for performance dividends 10-15 times per season, four stars is for “very strong” players likely to challenge 7-10 times per season and so on.
It’s a useful way of ranking players and comparing them against each other, allowing traders to narrow down their selections and concentrate on the top-rated players.
This section of the site is devoted to upcoming transfer windows and where you might find potential bargains. These are players that could either rise in price (and pick up some dividends) purely off transfer speculation or those who could do much better at a new club where they might get more game time and be more comfortable etc.
The transfer section is only really relevant during the run-up to transfer windows so is not something you need to regularly follow, but is worth checking out when a window is coming up.
We have covered most of the main site features now in our updates so will look to wrap up soon with the final bits and some closing thoughts.
Overall though we have been very impressed with the service and found the advice indispensable for those involved in the Football Index.
Football Index Trader – Update
17th December 2020
Last time we commented that it was very difficult to do an update on Football Index Trader because the market on Football Index had crashed, making it almost impossible to sell shares and therefore making any kind of advice or guidance somewhat obsolete.
Well the good news is that the market has settled down a little over the last month and whilst prices have still been falling, there is at least more liquidity in the market and most players can be sold now. That gives us a more viable basis on which to conduct our review of Football Index Trader (or FIT for short).
So what is FIT exactly?
In essence FIT is more of a guide than a tipping service as such – there aren’t “tips” on which players to buy and sell at particular times, instead there is research and advice that a user can follow to help guide their decision-making. As such we won’t be able to record results for this review in the normal way, but thought we would still take a look at the information provided and our thoughts on it.
How have we found it so far?
Overall we really like the service. Although in many ways we would prefer a straightforward tipping service, the guy who runs FIT says that is against the rules so has constructed his site in the way he has, i.e. as more of an information resource. That means more work on the part of members, but there is very valuable information to be had with a little bit of effort.
The real hub of the site is the “scouting” section, which provides updates on the latest round of matches across the leagues and competitions covered by FI and identifies any players who are currently value propositions based on recent performances.
Generally this information is excellent and there have been a number of players we have bought on the basis of being highlighted in scouting – e.g. Theo Hernandez, Angelino, Thomas Lemar, Andre Silva, Andrew Robertson – who we would have been unlikely to buy otherwise but have produced good returns.
At the same time of course there are some players we have bought based on the scouting who haven’t done so well – yet anyway – so it hasn’t been all winners so far, but patience is a virtue with FI so we expect at least some of those players will come good eventually (ahem Dybala, Coutinho).
The danger as well is that there are so many players highlighted in scouting you can end up trying to buy too many players and find yourself with a rather verbose portfolio – something we have definitely been guilty of!
A possible solution to that is to only buy the players on his “explosion imminent” list, which is more selective list of around 20 players he really expects to do well soon.
The point we really value from the scouting and across the site in general though is the focus on value and ignoring the over-hyped, over-valued players who are actually quite poor performers in FI terms, even though they may be good players. It can be just as important knowing who not to buy as who to buy.
And by focusing on the value at the lower end of the market – from 50p up to £2 per share, you start to see how lucrative the returns can be on those “out of favour” players who are genuine quality but have just had a slight dip in form lately or have happened to not hit a dividend win in recent weeks.
We have also utilised the “IPD rotation” strategy very successfully so far, which involves refreshing shares on those players who return a lot in IPD (in-play dividends) but are cheaply priced, either due to age or not being likely to win the Performance Dividends very often. As FIT has said a few times, this is like “printing money,” so we are grateful to him for highlighting that strategy.
Live Blogs and Market Sentiment
Another aspect of the service we really like is the live blogs, when FIT provides a running commentary on the latest developments at Football Index, with very astute insights and an ability to see the wood for the trees – which many supposed “FI experts” on social media seem to lack!
There are also regular updates on the “State of the Market” in which he presents the overall sentiment governing FI at the current time and the reasons for that prevailing mood. This is helpful again in understanding the bigger picture and reminding traders not to panic when things go awry, as well as noting the things that do need to be improved on the platform.
Caan Berry Video Response
It would be remiss of us not to also mention FIT’s response to a recent video by renowned Betfair trader Caan Berry. Basically Caan made a Youtube video explaining the problems (as he saw them) with Football Index in its current form and why he wouldn’t be joining the platform at the moment.
Whilst he made some good points in that video, we felt there were some misunderstandings of the mechanics of FI and some other issues that whilst on the face of it look like problems, when you delve into them more deeply either aren’t actually much to worry about or could easily be dealt with by FI.
These points were dealt with in an excellent and very in-depth blog post by FIT which you can read here. It is a long post but well worth reading for those either on Football Index or thinking of joining.
To be fair to Caan, he has addressed some of the points in a follow-up video looking at why prices are crashing and what FI can do to fix it, which is also worth a watch.
For what its worth from our point of view, without wanting to get too bogged down in the debate over the mechanics of the platform and market dynamics etc, we think the most important thing for FI is to improve the functionality of the platform and to make it slicker, simpler and more user-friendly.
If they do that then it will be easier to attract new traders and new money, liquidity will increase and everything else will fall into place. The platform will be able to grow organically and any money they spend on marketing will be more effective in attracting new traders.
They should also not announce things and then not be able to deliver them, which they have done numerous times recently (Nasdaq anyone?). It should be the other way round – under-promise and over-deliver.
As Steve Jobs and Elon Musk have said in the past (to paraphrase them) – just have a relentless focus on making your product better and then it will sell itself and people will keep coming back for more.
Offering gimmicks or just increasing the spend on marketing without improving the product would not be advisable in our view.
In summary then we would say we really like FIT and feel it’s definitely worth the cost of membership for anyone serious about trading on Football Index. There’s some great info on there and the overall strategy/mindset of focusing on value is – well, invaluable!
We would like it to be just a little bit simpler/quicker to use – perhaps a summary of the top players found in that week’s scouting for instance, or a “hot players of the week” with a value price band could help.
And whilst there is advice on building a portfolio and the overall strategy, a bit more clarity on how to use scouting and avoiding the pitfalls we have experienced of buying too many players would be of benefit (although perhaps that’s just us!)
At the same time it’s fair to say it has not been an ideal time to do this review with Football Index having been in a state of turmoil recently but with a guide like FIT it’s been easier to stay level-headed and not to panic about the market fluctuations.
It would be nice to be able to talk about some big gains we have made based on FIT’s advice, but unfortunately with the market crash that isn’t possible currently. Hopefully if FI can get their act together and focus on improving the platform though, that’s something we can do in future updates.
Football Index Trader – Update
16th November 2020
We had hoped to provide an update on Football Index Trader, a site designed to help traders maximise their gains on the “Football Stockmarket” known as Football Index (which we have previously reviewed here).
However, sadly things have been going a little pear-shaped for Football Index lately. They say a picture speaks a thousands words so here is a look at the top 8 players on the platform at the moment:
You might notice a problem…there is a sell price on only one of the players. Of the top 20, there is a sell price on only four players.
What is happening here?
Essentially lots of people want to sell their shares but no-one wants to buy. Confidence in the platform is shot and lots of people are trying to exit…but at the moment they can’t. Not a good situation. Not good at all.
Why is this happening though?
Well a few months ago Football Index changed the way the platform operated. Previously, they had a system whereby Football Index themselves would buy up shares of people who wanted to sell, in a queue system.
In doing so, they were able to maintain tight spreads (the difference between the buy and sell price) and everyone was happy because traders knew they could sell shares of players they didn’t want anymore at a reasonable price – or sell players they had made a good profit on.
We say everyone was happy. Well, not quite everyone…
No, it appears the regulator – which we assume was the UK Gambling Commission – stepped in and said they didn’t like this system as it was an artificial market. In essence Football Index were propping up the market and creating a false sense of security.
So Football Index were forced (as far as we can tell) to adopt mechanisms more akin to a normal stock market – i.e. that other traders would have to buy the shares of those who wanted to sell, not Football Index.
In order to facilitate this, Football Index introduced “Order Books.” We won’t get into the technicalities of how Order Books work, but in essence this is a bit more like a proper market, but with various limits in place in terms of what prices you can buy and sell at, to stop wild fluctuations in the market.
The problem with this forced change is that it came far too early in the life-cycle of Football Index. There just aren’t enough active traders on the platform to provide liquidity. At the moment there are around 3,000 active traders per day. Compare that to Betfair or one of the bookies who have millions of customers and you start to see the problem.
So what you had were huge spreads between the buy and sell prices – or what you have now, no sell price at all!
Football Index are making some changes later this week in an attempt to address these issues, for example by removing the restriction of only being allowed to make an offer (i.e. to sell) 1p below the buy price.
This is welcome and may help to reduce the size of the spreads. However, it does not address the more fundamental problems that FI has – the lack of traders and liquidity.
The fundamental issue is that Football Index is a long way from being a liquid platform. Around 3,000 traders per day is nothing in the grand scheme of things. We imagine they would need to treble or even 10x that to make it reasonably liquid. They say they are searching for “liquidity providers” or market makers but so far this search does not appear to be going well and we are not surprised. At the moment it would look like a big risk to any market maker.
In our own view there are three ways out of this for FI:
- – Go back to Instant Sells – which could mean asking the regulator to give them some leeway by temporarily allowing instant sells with Football Index themselves buying the shares again for say a year or two whilst they add more traders to the point where they can remove instant sells and have a liquid platform.
- – Get bought out by Betfair or one of the bookies, who could easily bring on board thousands more traders and create the necessary liquidity.
- – Provide the liquidity themselves – probably via a separate company but in effect spend a few million propping up the market again until they have more traders and better sentiment.
Without this kind of action we can’t see an easy way out of this for Football Index. Without traders paying commissions on trades, Football Index can’t pay the dividends. And without dividends there is no value in the shares and it becomes pointless. And if they cut the dividends it would send the whole platform into a death spiral.
Anxieties are high at the moment among users of Football Index as evidenced by sentiment on social media. People are worried they could lose all their money if Football Index collapses. How likely is this? It’s very difficult to tell without access to FI’s books and how much capital they have available. But clearly things are a mess at the moment and we don’t see just trundling along without some meaningful action as a viable way forward for them.
We also worry all the current mechanisms and moving parts are making FI just a bit too complicated for the everyday gambler, thus making it more difficult to attract new traders to the platform – which they desperately need and are spending lots of marketing money on. They could do with simplifying things and fixing the bugs on the platform for a start. A new competitor, Sports Stack, has a platform that already feels slicker and more user-friendly to us.
In terms of our review of Football Index Trader, obviously it does leave things in a tricky position as what use is good advice if you can’t sell any players?! Or can only sell them for a big loss, which is what we expect will happen after the changes later this week.
This is slightly compounded by the fact that Football Index Trader highlights a lot of players who are “under the radar” at the cheaper end of the market and potentially represent bargains. So we have added a number of these players to our portfolio. The trouble is these players are now harder to sell as if people want any players, it’s those at the top end who are regarded as safer and more likely to return dividends.
That is not their fault and if the market was operating properly then these players would no doubt do very well and represent value. And indeed the advice has proved accurate on many occasions in terms of highlighting players likely to perform well. It’s just at the moment it doesn’t mean a jot because you can’t sell any shares! (or not at a reasonable price, anyway).
So at the moment we couldn’t recommend anyone to put money into Football Index – and concurrently Football Index Trader. We will see what effect the changes later this week have – but we are not confident they will radically improve things, rather they are likely to cause a big drop in prices but the fundamental issues will remain.
If Football Index are able to take substantial action to improve the platform, or somehow find a market maker to provide the much-needed liquidity, then this could all change and we would at that stage recommence our review of Football Index Trader and go through what it has to offer.
For the time being though it seems best to just keep monitoring the situation until FI is in a better position and there is a realistic prospect of profiting from the platform.
Football Index Trader – New Review
18th October 2020
We recently completed a long-term review of Football Index, a platform where you can trade futures (like shares) in footballers. It’s a platform we really like and have made quite a lot of money from so far.
Having completed our review of the platform itself, we thought it would be a good idea to have a look at some tools to help traders maximise their gains on Football Index.
We mentioned in our final review that we had recently come across a website called Football Index Trader and found it to be a very useful resource.
It seemed only right then to expand on that brief mention and give the service a proper review of its own here on the site.
So what exactly is Football Index Trader (or FIT for short)?
Well it’s more of an advice and information resource rather than “tips” or “trade signals” in the traditional form we normally test out here at Honest Betting Reviews.
The website’s main elements are:
- – Scouting – match reports on players, with analysis of their FI scores, potential and if they are value
- – Player Ratings – organised by position and out of five stars, based on number of performance wins expected in a season
- – Market Analysis – a look at the current state of the market, sentiment, outlook etc.
- – Transfers – players with potential transfers coming up that could add to their value, including in media dividends, plus those players to avoid where rumours are unlikely to come to anything
- – Guides – general articles and guides on getting the most out of the platform.
As there aren’t any tips as such we won’t be able to record results for this review in the normal way, but thought we would still take a look at the information provided and note some of the trades we make based on that info. Members of the service will all have different results depending on how exactly they use FIT, but our results should at least give some ball-park figures of what you might expect as a member and whether the advice is helpful in achieving returns over and above the average returns of the market (normally termed “alpha” in stock market terms).
We’ve been a member for a few weeks now and have already been using the information to make some buys, so will record our findings from when we joined up rather than from today.
We will update things here as we go along and will break down the different aspects of the service during our updates.