Bravemansgame – the FCA and the Grand National meeting


Bravemansgame winning the King George at Kempton for John Dance.

If you backed Bravemansgame to beat Shishkin in the 2.55 Alder Hay Chase at Aintree today, your ante-post bet is worthless. That’s because of an intervention by the Financial Conduct Authority. Last week it ordered a firm founded by the racehorse’s former joint owner John Dance to cease operations.

Bravemansgame, trained by Paul Nicholls, was due to compete under the sole ownership of Bryan Drew after Dance was removed as joint owner on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the BHA said on Tuesday: “The BHA can confirm that Bravemansgame will be able to take his place in the Alder Hey Aintree Bowl Chase having been declared in the sole ownership of Mr Bryan Drew. We continue to liaise with Mr Dance and relevant authorities regarding the FCA’s ongoing investigation.”

Since WealthTek was shut down, Dance, a prominent owner, breeder and race sponsor, has not had any runners in his silks. James Horton, Dance’s private trainer, does not have any entries for the owner, aside from early closing entries.

Dance founded Vertem Asset Management, one of three trading names for WealthTek LLP.

He is one of  Paul Nicholl’s top owner, but also an owner of top flat horses including Laurens (trained by Karl Burke) and more recently Lincoln, named to win a Lincoln.

Last week the FCA said a 48-year-old man, who has not been named, was arrested by Northumbria Police after “serious regulatory and operational issues” came to light at WealthTek.

The British Horseracing Authority released a further statement on Wednesday evening which read:

“In light of new information, including a court order, provided to the BHA by the Financial Conduct Authority, Bravemansgame is no longer able to take part in the race and has been withdrawn.

“The BHA will continue to liaise with the FCA and other affected parties.”

It is not often that the FCA influence the outcome of a horse race. It is not often that a financial services firm becomes better known for its owner’s equine investments than its work for clients.

I had never heard of WealthTek or Vertem Asset Management till the past few days and I suspect that neither had trainer Paul Nicholls or the British Horse Racing authority.

The ownership of racing bloodstock is a rich man’s game and the provenance of money used to buy top horses is going to become an increasing part of transactional due diligence.

What’s left of WealthTek’s advertising can be found on its linked in page

We are an innovative platform provider that utilises bespoke technology to provide sophisticated portfolio management tools, administration and streamlined client reporting, helping investment managers to efficiently manage their clients’ portfolios with ease.

Launched in 2020, we were founded by a group of experienced investment management professionals from both operational and investment backgrounds. Integrity is at our core. We believe in loyalty and working collaboratively with our partners, allowing us to build relationships of trust and secure strong financial goals.

Outsourcing complex middle and back-office processes decreases risk while reducing costs. Our experienced team are on hand to efficiently utilise your business, so you can concentrate on managing and building your client relationships.

Vertem is an, independent investment manager based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Founded in 2010 by John Dance, Vertem specialises in creating bespoke, flexible and appropriate investment portfolios for professional clients, private individuals, charities and pension funds. Vertem utilises a wide investment universe alongside a dynamic investment process to deliver portfolios suited to modern markets. We aim to deliver actual value to clients – focusing on risk analysis and superior returns.


Another link between financial services and sport has been in the news this week as FXVC, a forex trading platform that had previously been a principal sponsor at Leeds United.

FXVC was closed down by the FCA in April 2021, it’s notice lists the reasons – all will be familiar by now to those who try to prevent scams.

Leeds United announced its extended sponsorship with FXVC only months before FXVC was closed down, announcing on its website

Leeds United are pleased to announce they have extended their partnership for the 2020/21 campaign with brokerage firm FXVC Online Trading.

This one-year partnership brings together a Premier League football club and a renowned brand in online trading that focuses on selling contracts for difference (CFDs), with both parties sharing the same values and brand loyalty which align perfectly with their ambition for success in 2020/21.

As part of the deal, which will see FXVC continue as the club’s official sponsor, the company logo will appear on the official Leeds United social media channels and around the pitch at Elland Road on matchdays. The Leeds United logo will also continue to appear on FXVC’s website, media and both online and offline materials for the company.

FXVC’s Chief Operating Officer, Jean Raphael Nahas, said: “We are proud to be the official partner of Leeds United. A club with such a great history and an even greater future ahead. The shared values of integrity, dedication, determination, desire to succeed, and — above all — commitment to our people, bind us together.”

Sports and financial services

Financial services firms look for validation by trusted brands such as Leeds United and football clubs look for money to finance their way up the football leagues and into Europe.

Leeds fans do not know who owns its football club and it is hardly surprising that the club do not hold themselves responsible for supporters investing with its main sponsor.

Racehorse trainers fish in a small pool for owners. Owners like John Dance are hard to find and hard to keep.

It’s embarrassing for one of Britain’s few trainers capable of taking on the Irish national hunt domination , that his star chaser is grounded because it’s owned by a company that has been required to cease trading by its regulator.

It’s difficult to understand why the horse should not be running, unless you remember that on the other side of the WealthTek/Vertem story, are people whose savings are at risk.

This week saw two LUFC supporters who had lost upwards of £200,000 in a couple of weeks with FXVC explaining how they trusted the sponsors because they loved the club.

Sport , emotion and money

We need to be wary of sport sponsorship and mindful that most top clubs have strong links to financial services organizations (mainly book makers). FTX (not to be confused with FXVC) is the highest profile sponsor of sport to have bought its credibility the easy way.

Sport should be wary of financial services . Easy money is not always the right money to build a business on.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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