Should Investing in Funds Be as Easy as Betting on a Football Game?

Thoughts from GemCap UK and Group CEO Stuart Alexander on the debate about making private funds accessible to investors, and the importance of advice and seeking professional guidance for investors.

It’s all about advice

I had a great time last week at Funds Congress in London, sponsored by Carne, Dechert’s and PWC. A worthwhile event for all those involved in the funds industry, whichever area you sit in. There were some excellent speakers covering many different topics ranging from geopolitics, regulatory updates, ESG of course and a session on the role of tech in distribution which linked back to an earlier discussion on alternatives. The whole event was very well organised and one not to miss.

However, I left the event somewhat concerned regarding some of the discussions that took place from the panels onstage: debates about private funds, be they debt, venture or just general alternative solutions. In all cases, the conversation centred on the question of how the funds industry gets more investors into these funds, but there were three main issues that I want to address.

Time not timing

One comment I found “interesting” was when panellists were discussing how is it easier to buy crypto or to bet midway through a football game than it is to buy a fund. The examples they discussed were all about phone betting via various sites and the ability to buy and trade crypto on Revolut for example. Now, many of us know about the complexity of investment fund application forms, particularly the length which is legendary. Even I get frustrated with the length of our own forms, but why the heck are we comparing gambling on a football game or “trading” in crypto to investing in a fund. They are completely different. The industry has spent decades telling people to invest, not trade funds. “It’s not about timing, it’s about time” is the old vestige, and it’s still true today as it was when I first heard it 40 years ago. The whole mindset around investing is very different to the way people gamble or even trade crypto, which in my book is often done as a gamble anyway, so why do we feel that investors want to have the same experience as gambling on whether Manchester City will win the European Championship? Gambling is about instant gratification, the buzz, the excitement of the right decision in choosing Man City to win the Cup for example. A little nod to that one by the way!

Investing, however, is a more profound decision that takes investment in time. It involves an in-depth decision process which factors in research around requirements, suitability, timeline, risk & reward parameters, and a host of other elements that go into that decision. It is certainly not a spur of the moment choice, based on a few beers in the pub. The execution of buying investments and the seemingly difficult aspects of that are one thing, but the reality is that people don’t avoid investing because of the application form or how difficult it is to trade, but because they don’t have the skills. Sure, education at school will teach about  the value of investing and the rationale for it, but not the different asset classes and geographies etc. That comes from a different source.

Investor Information

If you walk into a bookmaker and place a bet, the only thing you need to provide is the cash and proof that you are over 18. No real ID checks other than age, no suitability checks, no questions about where you got the money. Crypto trading on many apps is a similar process: connect a bank account and off you go. Simples!

With an investment fund there are so many aspects that need to be covered: AML checks, banking details, source of funds and share class types etc. The number of regulatory requirements is mind-numbing, but these have been brought in over the last 40 years to “protect” investors, especially in the ever-evolving technological time. True, ledger development will allow client data to be held in the blockchain and thus could be drawn upon when required, but what about suitability? Is that to be ignored so that investors may be at the mercy of buying products that don’t fit their needs? The execution of placing a trade or buying a fund needs to cover all the various aspects of risk, currency, investor details and bank details amongst others. We will improve the application, but only when we have the ability to share customer information through the blockchain.


One crucial aspect about the debate, which to be fair was more about FinTech than asset management, was the increase in private assets for investors and making them more accessible to individuals. I am not against the principle of making any asset class or structure more accessible to an investor – but let’s remember my earlier point. The decision process is very different for private assets than for traditional funds, and if investors struggle with current structures because of the complexity, how on earth will they deal with private assets? The simple key is advice. Once again, the advice chain is missed out by commentators and time and time again experts talk about investors having access to information and the ability to DIY their portfolios. I am not against that at all, in the same way I am not against someone wanting to fit their own solar panels on their roof or re-wire their house. It can be done, but surely many of us don’t have the expertise, the time or the inclination to start learning the basic requirements, so the job is done after a fashion at best. We bring in the experts following a brief check in the marketplace as to who is good at the job at hand. We should be encouraging potential investors to seek professional help when it comes to all elements of financial advice, yet certain parts of the industry seem to have forgotten what drives most of the fund flows today in the vast majority of markets around the world. Intermediaries whose sole job is to advise investors are a critical element to the added value chain in financial services, and we ignore them at our peril. Whilst I appreciate that the development of technology will be an enabler for investors, the simple psychology of investment will mean we still seek advice from the experts in the same way we seek guidance and work from professionals in all aspects of life.

I welcome technology into improving the way we execute all aspects of our business and I hope that investors do embrace private funds over time, but only as long as there is someone there to guide them. Let’s champion advice in all its forms and support the premise that we don’t know everything – but there is someone out there who can help.

In other news...


You must submit your agreement before access to the site can be granted. Important information regarding our Cookie Policy can also be found here


October 2022   This website is directed at institutional clients and individuals who have taken appropriate professional advice, who possess the necessary experience, knowledge and expertise to make their investment decisions and properly assess the risk that it incurs. Gemini Capital Management (Ireland) Limited (“GemCap”), trading as GemCap, is a limited liability company registered under the registered number 579677 under Irish law pursuant to the Companies Act 2014 which is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, reference number C155302. Its principal office is at Suite 22-26 Morrison Chambers, 32 Nassau Street Dublin 2, D02 X598 and its registered office is at 7th Floor, Block A, One Park Place, Upper Hatch Street, Dublin 2, Ireland. GemCap acts as management company and global distributor to GemCap Investment Funds (Ireland) plc (“UCITS”). GemCap Investment Funds (Ireland) plc is an umbrella fund with segregated liability between sub-funds incorporated as an investment company with variable capital registered under the registered number 485081 under Irish law pursuant to the Companies Act 2014 and authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland, reference number C67292, pursuant to the European Communities (Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities) Regulations 2011 (as amended) ), having its registered office at 7th Floor, Block A, One Park Place, Upper Hatch Street, Dublin 2, Ireland(“the Fund”) . The contents of this site have been prepared solely for information purposes and is not intended for distribution to, or use by, any person or entity in any jurisdiction or country where such distribution or use would be contrary to law or regulation. GemCap and the Fund does not give or make any guarantee, representation, warranty or other promise or confirmation (whether express or implied) as to its accuracy or completeness.   Risk Warnings Please remember that the value of investments and the income from them can fluctuate (this may partly be the result of exchange rate fluctuations) and you may not get back the full amount invested. Past performance may not a reliable guide to future performance. A comprehensive list of risk factors is detailed in the Prospectus and the key investor information document (“KIID”) and an investment should not be contemplated until the risks are fully considered. The Prospectus and KIID can be viewed at GemCap does not provide financial, investment, tax or any other professional advice in any way and none of the information on this site should be construed as such. None of the information contained on this site constitutes an offer to buy or sell or a solicitation, recommendation, invitation by or on behalf of GemCap to buy or sell any security, product, service or investment. Any opinions expressed on this site do not constitute investment advice and independent advice should be sought where appropriate. The view and/or opinions expressed by GemCap through this or any other platform, may be subject to change. The shares in the Fund have not been and will not be registered under the US Securities Act of 1933 (the “1933 Act”) as amended or the securities laws of any of the states of the United States. The Shares may not be offered, sold, transferred, pledged or delivered, directly or indirectly, in or into the United States or to or for the account or benefit of any US Person except pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to the registration requirements of the 1933 Act and any applicable state laws, nor in any jurisdiction in which the Fund is not authorised to be publicly sold. The Fund is available only in jurisdictions where their promotion and sale are permitted. The information contained on the website may not be redistributed directly or indirectly to any citizen or resident of the United States or any other jurisdiction where its distribution may be restricted by law. It is the responsibility of persons accessing the website to ensure compliance with the above.   Disclaimer for Investors in Switzerland The Fund and its sub-funds, Calamos Global Convertible Fund and Third Avenue Real Estate Value Fund has been approved by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA (“FINMA”) for offering to Swiss non-qualified investors. This website may contain advertising. In Switzerland, the representative is ACOLIN Fund Services AG, Leutschenbachstrasse 50, CH-8050 Zurich, whilst the paying agent is Banque Cantonale Vaudoise, Place St.-François 14, CH-1003 Lusanne. Swiss investors may obtain free of charge from the representative in Switzerland, the relevant fund documents, namely the prospectus, the key investor information documents, the articles of association, as well as the annual and semi-annual reports. Past performance results are no indication of future results. Issuance and redemption commissions are not included in the performance figures. Performance results referring to a period of less than twelve months (year-to-date-performance, start of investment fund within the last twelve months) are no reliable indicator for future results due to the short comparison period.   Additional information for Qualified Investors in Switzerland: The below-mentioned investment funds, which are also disclosed on this website, are neither registered with FINMA nor under contract for representation to Swiss investors. These investment funds may not be distributed neither to Swiss non-qualified and qualified investors nor exclusively to Swiss qualified investors:   GemCap Investment Funds (Ireland) Plc Atlantic House Defined Returns Fund Atlantic House Global Defined Returns Fund Atlantic House Total Return Fund Atlantic House US Enhanced Equity Fund Atlantic House Uncorrelated Strategies Fund Calamos Global Convertible Fund Calamos Growth and Income Fund Causeway Defined Growth Fund GSI Global Sustainable Value Fund GSI Global Sustainable Focused Value Fund London & Capital Global Balanced Fixed Income Fund London & Capital Global Conservative Fixed Income Fund London & Capital Global Defensive Equity Fund (this Fund has terminated and accordingly, Shares in this Fund are no longer available for investment) London & Capital Global Growth Fund London & Capital Global Growth Fixed Income Fund London & Capital Global Star Equity Fund London & Capital Global Balanced Fund London & Capital Global Equity Opportunities Fund Principal Asset Allocation Fund Semper Total Return Fund TEAM International Equity Fund Third Avenue Real Estate Value Fund   Legal This GemCap website and material contained herein (including information from third parties) is provided ‘as is’, without any representation or endorsement made and without warranty of any kind whether express or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of satisfactory quality, fitness for a particular purpose, non-infringement, compatibility, security, completeness and accuracy. By entering this site, you acknowledge and agree that the use of this site is at your own risk and to the extent permissible by applicable law, in no circumstances, including (but not limited to) negligence, shall GemCap be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, or punitive damages, losses, costs or expenses nor for any loss of profit that results from the use of, or inability to use this site or any material on any site linked to this site (including but not limited to any viruses or any other errors or defects or failures in computer transmissions or network communications) even if we have been advised of the possibility of such damage. In addition, no liability can be accepted by GemCap in respect of any changes made to the content of this site by unauthorised third parties. All express or implied warranties or representations are excluded to the fullest extent permissible by law. We do not warrant that this site does not infringe any intellectual property rights of third parties. No data transmission over the internet can be guaranteed as totally secure. Whilst GemCap strives to protect such information and every effort has been made to implement security protocols, in line with relevant legislation to ensure safe processing and storage of any data transmitted, we do not guarantee and cannot ensure the security of any information which you transmit to us. Accordingly, any information which you transmit to us is transmitted at your own risk. The GemCap website is not a substitute for independent professional advice and users should obtain any appropriate professional advice relevant to their particular circumstances. The information on this site is issued by GemCap.   Cookies If you use the internet quite a bit, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of cookies. But what are they? Also known as HTML cookies, tracking cookies or magic cookies, these tiny files are automatically downloaded by your computer when you’re browsing online. Don’t worry – they’re perfectly safe. But we’d still like to take a moment to explain what cookies do, which ones we use and how to remove them – if you really want to. Are Cookies Safe? Yes, cookies are safe. The information they collect is completely anonymous. We never, ever, collect personal information using cookies. What’s more, cookies are not harmful to your computer, they take up minimal space and they can be removed with just a few clicks. GemCap’s Cookie Functionality
  • Cookies provide enhanced functionality and speed to our site
  • These cookies help us to recognise your computer when you visit and enable us to improve your visits to our website
  • Cookies assist us in identifying what kind of visitor/user you are, for us to provide you with the most relevant content
How Can I Remove Cookies? Most computers are set to download cookies automatically, so if you’re happy with everything you’ve read, simply carry on as you were. However, if you’re at all concerned about having cookies on your computer, deleting them is simple. Show me how to remove cookies Likewise, you can also change your computer settings so that it won’t download any more cookies. Show me how to change my cookie settings The information on this site is issued by Gemini Capital Management (Ireland) Ltd, which is registered in Ireland No. 579677. The registered address for the company is 7th Floor, Block A, One Park Place, Upper Hatch Street, Dublin 2, Ireland. For further information on our use of personal data collected and stored by the firm and its approved vendors, please see our Data Protection Statement, which can be found in the “Our Policies” section on this website.