Sports management consultant Carole Beckford and stockbroker Ryan Strachan are encouraging athletes not to panic or limit their investment activities in the wake of news that an account belonging to iconic Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt was among those affected in a massive employee fraud case at the investment firm Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL).
Bolt, one of the most recognisable sporting figures across the world, has been severely affected by the incident, with millions of US dollars reportedly missing from his long-standing account with the institution.
Beckford, a former member of Bolt’s communication team, noted that while there have been issues in the financial sector, athletes should still invest in their future and trust the professionals to manage their finances.
“I think that the financial business now is very competitive and people are forced to do things that wouldn’t normally happen. The security systems in the financial institutions clearly need to be tightened and more monitoring on the side, because if people are going to invest their money, they have to feel comfortable knowing that their money is secure,” said Beckford.
“But, on the other hand, athletes must not be afraid to trust the people who have the expertise and the knowledge to make decisions about their funds.
“This is not a panic thing because we have seen, probably over the last six months, one or two of the financial institutions have had issues. I mean, life itself is a risk, and so I figure that you just try and get the best expert on the market to do your job,” she added.
The Financial Services Commission has since intervened by freezing the business activities of SSL as investigations continue.
“I don’t know if Usain was a targetâ€¦ but I think the onus is on the financial institutions and the liabilities remain with them for sure, because Usain has done nothing wrong and he will have to get back his money,” Beckford argued.
Bolt is considered one of the greatest track athletes of all time and holds world records in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay. The 36-year-old retired in 2017 with eight Olympic and 11 World Championships gold medals and has developed one of the most valuable sporting brands in the world with a number of lucrative sponsorship deals with global brands such as Puma, Gatorade, Virgin Media, Hublot, among others.
Meanwhile, Strachan noted that the situation with Bolt was quite unfortunate and urged Jamaican athletes and other public figures who earn large amounts of cash to seek proper advice before investing their money and request constant updates on their accounts.
“My advice to athletes who have found themselves with large sums of capital is two things. One is to seek out multiple sources of information because… they may have been driven to trust particular persons and to be judicious, which is good, but at the end of the day, you can’t have too much expert opinions,” said Strachan.
“The second thing I would say is that they should continuously meet with the persons who have responsibility for the investments for them and then also do independent checks. I know of a particular athlete who has retired who told me that he has two attorneys, one in the western hemisphere and one in the eastern hemisphere and who didn’t know each and runs his contract with both of them just to get additional advice and insight.
“I think that my suggestion would be that due diligence be applied and that multiple opinions are sought and also that more research be done to bring about the best result because the truth is sometimes some unfortunate things can happen,” Strachan noted.