Foresight 4: To change PB or to not change PB?



Due to this mention, in the most recent Football Index Question and Answer session on twitter, of another PB matrix review coming, there has been much discussion by traders whether it should change or remain. I have reached out to other traders in the official FI forum, our FTI forum and twitter to try and get both sides of the argument here and not just my personal view. I have been quite wary of putting this together (hence the delay), as I don't want to come over as being negative about the index. In the end, I deemed it worthwhile in case anyone is sat on the fence about how to vote/answer any choices that come up on the imminent survey. I am not saying vote how I will vote, but trying to show both side's points.


Thanks to those that have contributed in the debates.

Westy's point of view:


When the current matrix came out, I tried to be quick to identify players that would suit it and backed them- surely a big part of the whole point of the platform? I am a long term trader and play to my strengths - use our quiz in Article Insight 5 to find out yours.


Football Index attracted me as a football stock market, 'The regular stock market can seem intimidating and inaccessible. Football Index replicates the way the market works, but allows you to trade a commodity you understand - football'.. I want to use my football knowledge and make my money work for me, but I don't want to be too hands on. To date, my commission to dividends ratio is 1:20 but this is achieved by sitting on holds- not flipping or short term trading. I was hoping to buy big holds in players that I thought would yield PB dividends over 3 years. I am also a risk averse trader, and I made sure I diversified my portfolio, so luckily I can write this today without too much of a financial concern motivating my point of view. It is more about the potential missed opportunity for the platform than myself.


Ever since the current PB matrix came out (only last year), and some players showed they really suited it, I have seen lots of traders moaning about it on social media instead of buying them and winning dividends!? This has put me off putting larger sums of money in those players which was my plan. Not just that, but it has me also fearing for my holds of a further change. Over the year, many have ridiculed my pressing FI for a definitive answer on if it would be reviewed or not? Many arguing I was worrying unnecessarily as it won't change and they've never said they will change it...


There have been lots of conversations over the year like this...

Lots of traders have either been confused or missed the message about what FI said they will review every Summer. Until the Q&A, we have only been officially told it was a dividends review- nothing about the matrix (please get in touch if I have missed another message?) We did know an MB review was coming that would be looking at the whole system for that, and we have had plenty of warning about this- the same should be done for any PB matrix review.


Here is what AC said in the dividend review message:

As you can see- no mention of an annual matrix review.


I, and others, were met by a wall of silence by AC on the previous Q&A sessions and by MB in a DM. I didn't expect a response to my DM as they must get inundated with messages, but the silence on the Q&A only further compounded my doubts. Customer service chats did respond, and each time they assured me there were no plans to change it (swiftly followed up by the usual disclaimer comment of if changes do come we will be notified).



So it has been a year of holding with questions of when to sell or if to top up. Trent did exactly as I expected (and betted) with a big rise in price and dividends earned along the way. But sadly I have buckled to the fear and now he is now my top profit trade at 622% (I only count the profit when players are sold), and I only sold due to the doubt of what might happen.


It wasn't just me that sensed a review may come. Ericali, a vote for change PB trader, noticed the questions on the PB matrix being ignored, and this meant he was put off buying a top player- surely not what Football Index want?!



I hope the matrix is either left unchanged- then players already are known quantities to trade on, or yes I can do my best to forgive them one last change in the hope of a better matrix as long as with either of those decisions, the matrix is then locked in! - and declared locked in!- for a long time (3 years ideally)!


I will happily buy back in on Trent et al. if the matrix stays, otherwise if it changes (but with a locked in time set) I will start again trying to identify players that suit it and back them with the confidence that change is now not a variable in my future decision making. The worst scenario in my opinion, would be a change or no change with a message that there will now be annual reviews. This would completely wipe my confidence in any long term strategy; I'd move to short term trading with much less at stake.


I think whatever matrix is in place it will always throw up a few players that suit it much more than others, and they will be the new players to rise quickly to the point that masses can't all afford (one of the big complaints of the current market)- we then get calls for change again. I think the yields are still generous on these players, so if you want them- buy them. If affordability is the issue, then perhaps FI need to look into fractional shares etc- it doesn't have to be a fundamental change. I can already see people calling any new matrix names on social media, 'heading matrix', 'sideways pass matrix', 'tap ins matrix'...


Another problem with continuous reviews of it would be how do we spot yth players early that could be good PB players in the future? Once we get a settled PB matrix, it opens up the benefits to scouting youngsters and watching their game closely.The dream of buying a kid around £1 and seeing him grow to a £15 star. I suppose the hope is that we don't talk about players as being good for PB- we talk about them being good players and a knock on affect of that is that they score well on the PB matrix. But like I said, can a matrix really be built to accommodate all opinions on what a good player does in games?



It feels like Football Index are heading to a bit of a cross roads with their future as a platform. I can appreciate and deeply sympathise that Covid 19 has forced their hand in many aspects for their plans with the product. But with regards to the fundamentals of how we value players, and if they really want to aim to be the football stock market, then I feel we need clear measures set for long periods; we need trusty rugs beneath our feet and saplings allowed to grow into firm trusty trees. If they want to turn the platform towards more short term approaches, then I can understand the wish to exercise the only T&C you need read, 'We may amend the Service and/or update the Terms of Service  (in particular the Game Rules) from time to time, whether to reflect a change to the Service or otherwise.' Each change made shakes the money trees (yes I love that phrase- I know I use it all the time). Doubts create sales, sales create commission. They may feel they need to clear out those still holding high yielding players in the thousands whilst share expiry doesn't seem to be implemented to do this for them. It is a risky game though as I would like to believe solid rules and measures on a stable platform would attract a lot more money and users to the index.


There are a few possible outcomes of this review for every trader to think about:

  • Change it and then lock it in with a decent time period.

  • Change it and say it'll be reviewed again next year.

  • Not change it but leave it open to review next season.

  • Not change it and lock it in.

Even though I have sold some players that I feel will continue to earn dividends on the current PB matrix, I will be voting/answering the survey for no change and hoping they lock it in. Knowing/being able to identify which players are most likely to bring in dividends makes sense to me as an investor.


In the past with any changes, I have tried to adapt as a trader, but I'd back myself less to start with if having to turn to a short term strategy and it may just be one change too many unless things are locked in after any made now.


There were some positive snippets dropped in the Q&A to get excited about and I predict a lot of general market growth that can be used as a bit of insurance against trades done now:




A look at what others have said:


Our recent quick poll on twitter showed:

Although it is a very small sample, I was pleasantly surprised by this result.



Yes to change:


Leading the call to change on the forum is Ericali:



Other snippets of 'vote yes' from the official FI forum:



Listen to Stamford's call for change:




Snippets of 'vote no' from the official FI forum:


I can see good points made from both sides of the argument.


So to try and summarise from a trader's point of view...


Main points for no change:

  • Provide stability in the measures and rules and thus the platform

  • Keep the USP of being THE football stock market

  • Attract long term investors

  • Don't change our existing bets again

  • No matrix will be able to replicate the real world


Main points for change:

  • Get the best matrix possible- don't settle for this one

  • Reward football knowledge/eye test rather than just data mining

  • Attract new users by the prices of players reflecting real life stars



This has admittedly been rushed through to try and beat the survey coming out...so apologies to those who may have wished to contribute or comments I haven't been able to include.


Make sure you vote/answer the survey- think about the bets you've already made, think about what's best for the platform long term.


Let's hope whatever the result, it pleases the masses and the platform moves on stronger and stabler without another year of doubt around the PB matrix!


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