Footballer-turned-property magnate Robbie Fowler offers wannabe investors tips on how to build a successful portfolio at his property academy, but one vital ingredient is missing: Robbie Fowler.
Adverts for the Robbie Fowler Property Academy picture Fowler and promise investors they will learn how to “build a property portfolio without the need of a footballer’s salary”.
But the former Liverpool and England footballer does not bother showing up.
The adverts state in the small print: “Robbie Fowler will not attend these events.”
According to the Guardian, which visited the academy in the basement of the Hilton London Euston, lessons are instead delivered by a trainer with Legacy Education Alliance, a transatlantic training company.
The trainer explains at the beginning of the session that he is “obviously” not Fowler, “but I’m here on behalf of Robbie”.
The first thing he wants to do is “congratulate every single one of you guys”, because we have done what “99% of the population are unwilling to do: invest in your financial education”.
The reporter is told that the two most important things to remember when making money in property are BMV (below market value) and OPM (other people’s money).
“This is not a get rich quick scheme,” he says. But if you do want to get rich quick, borrow other people’s money to buy properties at below market rates, then “flip them” (sell them on quickly for more money), and repeat.
“Write this down,” he says. “Money in, money out, asset for free, income for life.”
The big money comes from HMOs (houses in multiple occupancy). “That’s buying a house and splitting it up into rooms and letting them individually,” the trainer says. The ROI (return on investment), can be “infinite”.
The trainer even suggests finding people at risk of repossession: “I target repossessions before the people are repossessed. I take out ads in the local paper: ‘Are you facing repossession? Call your local landlord, [the trainer]’.”
The training session also includes tips on how to run a tax-efficient business and use “creative finance”, whereby potential investors with no assets and bad credit ratings can borrow money to start their property empire.
The trainer suggests people with poor credit ratings could offer their friends, or even random strangers in pubs, 20% interest to borrow £100,000 to pump into schemes.
“Even if they want 50% [interest], you can still do it and make money. You should be able to make money in any market – up, down, sideways,” he says, adding: “I can’t tell you what to do, I’m not a financial adviser.”
The two-hour session us free, but attendees are encouraged to sign up for a three-day weekend course that costs £1,994,
Legacy Education Alliance, which is based in Florida, told the newspaper: “In relation to the accusation regarding property repossessions, this has been taken out of context. Strategies and techniques that are taught are compliant and legal and do not encourage or endorse exploitation of vulnerable individuals.”
DealMakerz is pretty shocked at the tactics endorsed by the trainer, which are not only highly risky for would-be investors but also appear to take advantage of people who are extremely vulnerable.
It’s a shame that a football legend’s name has been linked to such exploitative strategies.
Footballers can’t seem to resist the lure of property development, but the road to success is not easy to navigate.