Some months ago, I attended a half-day class at Online Trading Academy St. Albans HQ. You can read the original review but the short version is that I was initially reasonably impressed by the half day course and it’s content.
Not enough to sign up on the day for the £199 “Market Timing” course, but enough to stay interested.
So, time passes and here we are in October of 2018. I was due to attend the (now free) Market Timing seminar this coming weekend at St. Albans, but my gut has been telling me otherwise and despite wanting to put AT’s readers at the forefront of my research, I wasn’t overly keen to spend a weekend indoors when I have better things to be doing.
So, this weekend I embarked on the final batch of research I’d decided to conduct before attending.
I’m afraid this doesn’t make for good reading.
I’d been speaking to a chap called Jordan Bradley from Online Trading Academy OTA St Albans, my ‘Education Coach’ who I could tell by his voice was quite young. However, he’d gone through a number of questions with me, getting me to complete an assesment of the reasons I wanted to join, what I had available to trade with in terms of funds – quite detailed questions including my pension, if I had a SIPP, ISA and so on, several of which I skirted around because I wouldn’t be comfortable trading my SIPP – that’s a recipe for disaster imo, I’ll leave that to the professionals – and other savings I may or may not have are for savings, and not investment. Those two pots are quite distinct in my case. Anyway, a quick Google and search of LinkedIn shows me that Jordan is not very old indeed. He was a student at Bedford Modern School from 2007-2014, which by my calculations makes him the grand age of 22 in 2018. Since October 2016 – aged 20 – he’s been employed by Online Trading Academy, but there’s no accounting for the period between 2014-2016. I’m not suggesting his youth alone is a problem, just that someone older and with more experience and professional qualifications, which I feel Jordan is unlikely to have gained by age 20, might be better placed to discuss complex issues such as my pension and trading my SIPP.
I also found another review on TrustPilot UK form May 2018 where Jordan (presumably the same one) is mentioned and it states:
“My coach, Jordan, was clearly not making any money from trading as why would he dress and look as he does and waste a weekend working to ‘not sell me’ this amazing education. Oh, hello, are you stupid guys. If he could make £200k pa trading do you think he’d be wearing battered shoes, terrible hair cut and even consider wasting his weekend working…….”
The same TrustPilot review mentions a person called ‘Opal’:
A special mention must go to Pearl or Opal or Gem…can’t remember her name but she is the ‘finance’ person. What an absolutely rude, unhelpful and utterly ridiculous consumer facing employee. She alone was enough to put me off.
Opal is the name of one of the other officers of the company, according to Companies House.
I couldn’t find much about Graham Spruce, my former presenter, on LinkedIn, which is a bit strange given that we move in the same circles. I couldn’t really find him anywhere else, other than his previously mentioned Twitter profile (which has been a lot quieter lately) or his Facebook profile which doesn’t give much away.
One place I did find Graham Spruce is on Online Trading Academy’s own website. Not as a staff member, tutor, coach, employee or trainer, though. Care to guess where I found him? Here, in the testimonials section (N.B. as of 2020 an archive copy of this page can be found at http://web.archive.org/web/20180210182634/https://www.tradingacademy.com/london/testimonials.aspx however the archive copy pre-dates this article and does not contain the testimonial described). (The video is on the link just below and will download directly to your computer a .mov file about 125mb in size). Introduced as ‘Graham S’, he states that he “never used to be profitable, before [he] took a class at Online Trading Academy UK [he] couldn’t put a couple of winning trades together for love nor money, after [his] training here and a lot of hard work, dedication and determination, I’m a consistently profitable trader“.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I can hear ringing in the distance and it sounds like alarm bells. This is a man who, according to his LinkedIn profile, has been a professional futures trader since 2008, yet is filmed here (in what is clearly recent high quality footage) saying that he “couldn’t put a couple of winning trades together for love nor money”, yet was standing in front of me extolling the virtues of trading as if he’d been highly successful for some time.
Interestingly though, it appears that Graham and I do have a shared connection on LinkedIn. Not one for trading though, but someone whose focus is on ‘increasing sales and profit through inspired marketing solutions’. Again, I find this worrying when I am not looking for things on the marketing side, (which I freely admit is my business).
So, a little more digging into the testimonials section of Online Trading Academy UK for this Review yields plenty more names, some of which stick in my head for no particular reason. So, a few minutes later when I’m looking through the Company Officers at Companies House, one name of the those officers jumps out at me and I think “Where’ve I seen that name before?”
Oh yes; I remember.
It was in the ‘testimonials’ section of OTA’s website, by the name Robert Gershon, apparently a former accountant of Online Trading Academy UK, posting reviews about them. Here’s his testimonial below, along with his (publicly available) information from Companies House and the company behind OTA UK, Redahead Ltd.
Now, this could be a coincidence, but for me, those once distant alarm bells are now ringing loud and clear at this point,and they should be for you, too, in my opinion.
Questions to Online Trading Academy UK
Why is what looks to be one of your former employees posting reviews of your course?
Why is your education coach barely out of school?
Why is one of your presenters in your marketing materials as a former student, freely admitting he was not profitable, yet was standing there teaching my class, in the same year this video was apparently shot?
Why do all your testimonials appear to be so polished, professional and professionally shot (with the possible exception of the last one in the above clip), with people speaking comfortably to camera? I’ve done testimonials for websites myself – genuine ones – and people are rarely that comfortable unless it’s been shot lots of times or unless they’re professionals (i.e people used to being in front of the camera)
I should have conducted this research some months ago, but quite honestly life has overtaken me this year, as it does from time to time. So, forgive me, readers, but I have now conducted my due diligence and I find the results to be concerning. Jordan had freely admitted to me that the cost of Online Trading Academy’s Futures course was going be be in excess of £16,000 for the full course, and that more courses might be needed. But that price was only going to be possible if I signed up this coming weekend, which I had no intention of doing. Had I done so after this weekend, price would have been closer to £20,000 – a classic pressure-based sales tactic.
So, I’m going to make the same offer to Online Trading Academy UK Review as I’ve made to others here on the site.
Give me the course content for free. Allow me to attend your Futures course for free, on the proviso that I can review it here on our site. If I’m wrong in my assessment above, I’ll publish a full retraction and clarification of all the issues I’ve quoted here – although I will need your explanation to the questions I’ve posted above.