Sports has a money problem. Players are now given large sums of money to play their respective sports, and this means they need to understand the value of their wealth.
There are loads of horror stories of professional sports stars being made bankrupt or scammed. Financial services firms have an opportunity to get new clients as well as show their worth by educating these stars.
In September 2022, English Football League club Cambridge United agreed a commercial partnership with Sussex-based financial advice firm Prosperity IFA.
The IFA firm became the football team’s official financial services partner. The agreement allows Prosperity IFA to offer financial workshops for first team and academy players, as well as engage with the club’s community trust.
International Adviser spoke to Options UK’s Christine Hallett and Beaufort Financial’s Billy Moss to discuss the benefits of partnering with sports clubs.
Education and commercial
Options UK is a partner of football team MK Dons and the firm has been able to grow its partnership deal from community work to commercial interests.
Hallett, managing director of Options UK, said: “I was initially driven at the very beginning by sort of wanting to do something in the local community of Milton Keynes. I’ve known MK Dons chairman Pete Winkelman for some time. Then when auto-enrolment came in, we started to help the club with workplace pensions.
“The first team players are part of FA pension scheme. But the academy players need to think about a pension. So, the partnership grew, and we went to do education sessions for the players. This also included the first team, as you’re only one game away from an injury that stops your career.
“We don’t give advice, but we can talk to people about what pensions are, and what they can achieve for them and why they’re so important in anybody’s planning cycle, whether they’re just a youngster starting savings or whether they’re older and don’t have the number of years you would necessarily need to get a decent pension.
“Also, as we are a full partner, we’ve got a box and advertising and we go to the games. This means we also interact with all the other partners including other businesses. We’ve obtained pension schemes from them. The partnership with the club allows us to expand our business opportunities.”
Sometimes partnership deals mean the highest bidder wins and they are not the best firm for clubs and their sports people.
So, maybe local IFAs could be perfect for clubs?
Moss, financial adviser at Beaufort Financial, was previously a rugby player at Bath and London Welsh – and can understand what players need.
He said: “Clubs are businesses now and they need to be profitable businesses, or at least break-even businesses, to be able to pay their players and be successful clubs.
“I certainly wouldn’t expect them to be sacrificing revenue to be using a local IFA, but I certainly think they should be asking those people in addition, as well, if they want to give up time and educate players.
“I think through that process you find good people and the players will find multiple people that they might be able to get on with to help with financial advice. So much of the industry is having a personal relationship.
“I remember advisers coming in and talking to us about pension contributions – and encouraging the players to reach out and talk to people would be a good thing.”