Bentley Global launched in February 2018 and issued unregulated bonds paying 12 – 20% per year (depending on the amount invested).
Bentley Global is headed by former chartered accountant Alan Bentley. The bonds were promoted by former Manchester City footballer Peter Reid, who earned 13 caps for England. Reid is now Bentley Global’s Director of Football.
Investors’ money is used to bet on football using Bentley Global’s “Algol88” algorithm.
(The number 8 appears frequently in gambling contexts due to a Chinese superstition that the number is lucky, because the Chinese for “eight” sounds a bit like the word for “profit”.)
Bentley Global claims that Algol88 has produced returns averaging 83% per year over 5 years of backtesting.
Backtesting is of limited value because you can adjust an algorithm and re-run the backtesting until you have produced whatever results you desire. This does not necessarily mean it will produce the same results in the future. Even real past performance is no guide to the future and artificially simulated past performance is even less of one.
Bentley Global has recently filed its accounts for the year ending August 2018 which reveal that the company raised a total of £4.8 million up to that date.
Despite CEO Alan Bentley stating in a video
We’re not going to hide – every month we’re going to publish our figures fully audited so our clients can see exactly what we’re earning
this commitment to auditing and transparency does not extend to its annual accounts. The company took advantage of small company exemptions and did not have its results audited, or publish a profit and loss account and cashflow statement.
What the accounts do show, in simplified terms, is that the £4.8 million raised from investors turned into £1.8 million in debtors (mostly £1.4 million in prepayments and £300k in “other debtors), £360k in “sums placed in betting pools” (which is valued at initial cost), and £1.3 million in cash.
The other c. £1.3 million appears to have either been lost, or spent on investors’ interest or other costs. With the bonds not repayable until November 2020, there is no suggestion that Bentley Global is in financial difficulty. However, at some point it will have to start living up to its claims of being able to generate 85% per year average returns using its algorithm.
In 2017 the company valued its algorithm at £27.4 million; as with the rest of the accounts, this value has not been independently audited.
Bentley Global’s literature, which is signed off by FCA-regulated Blue Water Capital, is generally clear and makes no attempt to disguise the fact that investing in bonds paying up to 20% per year from betting on football is extremely high risk. Their video promotion mentions that the investment is only to be promoted to high net worth and sophisticated investors.
Sadly this is not true of unregulated introducer HyLife who promoted Bentley Global bonds with a claim that “Security is a key element for all potential investors”. Needless to say anyone for whom “security is a key element” should not be investing in bonds paying up to 20% per year from betting on football.