This is the summary of my Live Blog that has been running since the announcement at 19:30. The full version is members only, but I've summarised my thoughts here for sharing with Twitter and the Facebook Group.
Alrighty. It’s approaching midnight, or will be, by the time I’m done with this last post. Let’s wrap up for the night. (edit: ok 12:40 in the end).
The story makes sense. FI has recommitted to it’s original purpose.
This is the key thing to me. There are still problems to solve and I think a market recovery comes over months rather then days or weeks.
But if you recall my Tuesday State of the Market when I previewed this my main concern was that we needed FI to set a clear direction for the product. They needed to pick a side and decide who the product is for.
IPD was removed because FI had recognised that the short termism was a problem. And it absolutely was. Clipping IPD’s wings was the top of my hitlist in my “how to fix FI” thesis.
This change gave me some hope that they understood the problem. It upset some people, but it had to happen.
What we needed to see tonight was the next part of the story and it had to make sense. If IPD was bad, what’s good?
It had to be something that reinforced the original reason why FI has been successful to date. It’s different from traditional betting. Most FI trading takes place over days. Weeks. months. Not minutes or hours.
If FI try to play that quick win game then the bookie will beat them every time. But they cannot beat FI at what it does best.
There will be opportunities for short term trading in and around that, and some people will do well from that niche. But that’s not the unique point of the product.
Now that FI have clearly signalled where they want to go, traders have some stability to work with. Some may leave, because they miss the quick IPD wins. But the majority of traders are here precisely because of it’s longer term nature.
Core Players Win
This was my “prediction” in recent weeks when we previewed the announcement. But I’ll put that in inverted commas because… well. Put it this way, if FI had come up with something that did not benefit these players they may well have imploded.
Any mechanic that didn’t benefit this group and broadened the pool of viable players out further may well have wrecked this market.
And it would have shaken my faith in them, to put it bluntly.
So that’s why I didn’t bet on it, and suggested putting balances into the Core early.
Doing anything other than supporting Core players just wouldn’t have made any sense. FI aren’t incompetent despite what many may say when things don’t go well.
They understand the concept of liquidity and what creates it or dries it up. Yes, it’s difficult. They are doing something new and Order Books aren’t easy. They haven’t got it right first time and have made real mistakes along the way.
But this announcement tonight gives me a lot of confidence. It’s shown that they do understand the problems and they are prepared to take steps to fix them, even if that is painful for some.
This change narrows that pool of viable players to a range that traders can realistically support organically, with a little help from market makers to fill the gap.
I was wrong in my initial suggestion of halving IPD. That seemed like a sensible middle ground solution but now that I know what they planned to replace it with – ripping that plaster off was the correct call.
If we still had IPD existing AND this? It would just be too confusing a market. They’ve done it right.
Match Day Extra Is Fun
Match Day Extra itself is a great idea. Ok, you can poke at the payout and say 1p ain’t all that much, I’ll come onto that next.
But in concept, it’s the tiered performance I have supported for years but actually better than I imagined. I had never considered the idea of averaging out those performances over the week to ensure that the best performances were rewarded, rather than it being about which games fell on which day.
This is just better. Whoever thought of that deserves credit, it’s smart and creative.
Match Day Extra payouts may appear modest. But C’mon.
My initial experience of opening the announcement was reading about Match Day Extra and thinking that sounds amazing. Then I scrolled down and thought “1p huh… hm.”
It sounds underwhelming sure. But let’s think about this seriously.
In my State of the Market post on Tuesday I specifically said that we may be over optimistic in expecting an IPD replacement to be incredibly generous.
The obvious, yet possibly overlooked point to we traders, is that the value proposition vs the prices we are paying has literally never been more generous, even without Match Day Extra.
Our problem is not lacking dividends. If you are doing FI right you are currently being showered with them. What we need is more stability. So a little financial prudence from FI is sensible. It’s not stingy. It’s not greedy. If our main worry is the stability of FI then this is good for them and therefore us.
I would assume, having not had time to do the full math, that Match Day Extra with 20p a week is a damn sight cheaper for FI than paying 2p for every goal scored.
That is a dividend decrease for the first time. But is the product better for it? Yes. It actually is. Funny as that may sound.
However, Match Day Extra is going to be an attractive mechanic that influences trading strongly. Here is why.
You can stack up wins. A player might get an outright win and a second place in a week, adding a little bonus. A player might finish second twice, getting a 2p dividend. Or do it 3-4 times in a month, which starts racking up.
Secondly, 6x 1p winners per category is really quite deep! From daily tiered pb we were hoping for a 2nd place and 3rd at absolute best.
This is going to drip dividends regularly across a fairly wide selection of decent players. So if you are upset about the loss of IPD, a lot of these big goal scorers, certainly from the major CL/Europa sides, are going to get over that winning bar now it has been lowered.
Yet, you’ve still got the jackpot excitement of the big 1st placed win which Adam Cole was correct to favour in the first place.
Signs they are listening to the criticism and get it
As discussed in further detail below, removing uncirculated shares and the whole, (very complicated) share issuance topic is an unexpected bonus.
These are actually primarily cosmetic changes rather than things that will impact values or prices right now. But they are important changes that speak to FI listening to the gossip and the negative stories and coming up with changes that head them off.
You can pick holes in how these changes aren’t perfect, if you want to. I have below in the full Live Blog. For example, no amount of caution in share issuance can overcome a player flopping and not meeting high expectations.
But what you will never be able to get away from, no matter how kind FI are, is the fact that it is possible to lose a bet.
These alarmist statements about being stuck with a player you can never sell are obviously possible, in fact inevitable in some cases. But the primary reason for that is if you have bought a player that isn’t strong enough to carry his price.
In the vast majority of cases that’s just on us as traders. That’s the game. We’ll lose sometimes on individual players. But if our portfolio performance overall is good, we’ll come out alright.
I’m very happy with this announcement. And a little relieved. As I said in the State of the Market, after removing IPD I thought FI had done well and given themselves an open goal to aim at when they dropped the next part of the story.
But in that moment before the ball is struck you can’t help but watch with horror wondering if they might miss.
It’s given me a great deal of confidence after a very rough year where all of us have been tested.
Mainly because they have picked a mechanic that supports trading over days, weeks and months. That’s the product that attracted so many of us in the first place. And FI have strongly recommitted to that.
Had they not done so, I’d be feeling stressed right now.
Then we’ve got a really creative, fun mechanic that nudges the market in the right direction and encourages liquidity into a manageable pool of players. Whilst still leaving a bit of room for underdogs to squeak over the winning bar.
FI have also shown some financial prudence, despite being under some pressure to shell out more dividends that we actually didn’t need after the removal of IPD. I respect them more for this sensible business management rather than crowd pleaser announcements that may have caused problems later on.
In times past, FI may have tried some cheap gimmick like a deposit bonus to dig them out of a hole. It has worked before. But FI is growing up now and I think we need an end to this kind of circus. What we saw tonight is the kind of sensible, professional measures that are needed if FI is to move from disruptive market entrant to established mainstream player.
I can still see problems. The main remaining issue from my hitlist is the way pricing information is presented and the dreaded “VWAP”. As long as just one mid to large size trader can dictate the price it’s going to take a long time to see strong price rises across the board.
But prices should be much higher in a more rational, confident market that is based on the dividends quality players can realistically earn.
If confidence returns, prices should return towards those more rational values too. Tonight hasn’t got us the whole way. But it’s a major step forward, and the reassurance comes not just from what they did, but what they didn’t do.
FI have set a clear direction. With that, traders will figure out what to do next.