The future

Discussion of the proposed Cashback Investment Club

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parchedpeas
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The future

Post by parchedpeas » Sat Feb 20 2021 10:56am

Following on from Dream On's post in the weekly update, the Resignations from Secretary and Treasurer mean it's worthwhile having a conversation about what is next.

PGM has gone from a cash-out share to a longer term hold, and recovery on our other shares has stalled - while we could sell out now and be (mostly) in proft, the portfolio looks like it will need a medium-term wait before improvement can be seen.

So we need to ask if this club is going to be around in the medium-term. Fees are changing on the dealing account and imutual as a site has crawled to a standstill - it is hard to generate a balance through free clicks / whatever to put the £10 each quarter into the club to stay on track - even that would not really do much more than cover the fees with a small membership.

So what's the future? Do we have people to step into the vacted roles? Do we have the will to find ways of getting funds into the club through iMutual? Or are we all just waiting (like me, to be honest) for a portfolio recovery and then a cash-out?

Maybe time to hear where each member sits on the issue. And if the thread gets two or three response and then disappears then that's as much an answer to this question as anything anybody can write.
Last edited by parchedpeas on Sat Feb 20 2021 4:02pm, edited 1 time in total.
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garindan
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Re: The future

Post by garindan » Sat Feb 20 2021 11:25am

It's a good post and something I want to consider more before responding. There are some options for us to think about. I wouldn't say anything is off the table in terms of discussion, for a number of reasons.
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richard@imutual
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Re: The future

Post by richard@imutual » Sat Feb 20 2021 12:07pm

Realistically, I think we should wind up the existing club. I don't see how it can continue
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Beachboy
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Re: The future

Post by Beachboy » Sat Feb 20 2021 9:01pm

I think it would be a real shame if the CIC folded and hope it doesn't come to that. However I do understand there are current challenges and questions that do not have an immediately obvious answer. I will of course happily take part in the ongoing discussion and seek to help find or offer ideas for solutions to some of these where possible. 👍
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garindan
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Re: The future

Post by garindan » Wed Feb 24 2021 8:12pm

So I have thought about this and have some things to mention, below.

Firstly, as I set out previously, I think we should be sitting tight on these investments until the end of the first quarter of this year at the very earliest. There are multiple reasons for this and I think everyone should already be aware of them. Now there is potentially light at the end of the tunnel with Covid, it is even more important, in my eyes, that we don't simply sell everything and ruin the potential we have been developing over the past few years, with the investments we have made.

Secondly, I also think it would be a shame if the club folded. I don't think the ambition of the club has been met by any stretch of the imagination, when it comes to number of members intially envisioned. However, having said that, is that the fault of the club or that of the small the catchment from which it can attract members? I firmly believe it is the latter. Total membership over the years probably amounted to a fair and appropriate percentage of forum users. It would be unrealistic to expect a particularly high percentage of users to want to join the club and it is impossible to expand from a base number when imutual membership has flatlined, or more probably declined, over the duration the club has been active. In terms of what investment clubs are meant to achieve in practice it has been very in keeping with learning objectives.

Thirdly, whilst we have seen systems put in place for the investment club within imutual the key component is the logging of money invested by members and reports generated so calculations can be made. These are already active and shouldn't need further development. Ideas and recommendations of how these reports could have been changed to better reflect the needs of the club to monitor and attract new members have never been implemented, so the investment in technology is only really administrative for the treasurer and basic stats for the members. As a small club this isn't really an issue.

Fourthly, if imutual bins the club one of the only "interesting" elements to differentiate imutual from others and potential growth areas will have been cast aside. If the plan is basically to shut imutual down in the near term and not look for any future growth then this is not an issue.

Fifthly, recuiting officers from the membership is very difficult. Losing a secretary is not necessarily an issue. However, we do need a chairman and a treasurer. It wouldn't be right for one person to do both jobs for multiple reasons, including transparency. So even if I could do both roles it wouldn't be right. Therefore, we do need another volunteer to help steer the ship. Richard has said he would help pass over to a new treasurer, so as long as there is someone who can do that role the club is good.

Sixthly, and finally, there has been talk in the past of whether money outside of cashback could be invested in the club. I have always been against it to be honest. However, if it would be seen as helpful to get the club more active then I could potentially be talked round. I'd need to understand how that would make any difference to things.

So my overall view is I don't want the club to end, at least not at this point in time as I currently feel it is inappropriate. I don't have a problem with reviewing this at the midpoint of this year. If we end now I feel like the past few years of effort, persistence and patience - something we have matured into having - will have been a total waste of everybody's time and undervalues our investments.

If however there are people wanting to leave the club and don't share that view then, as I mentioned on a thread a few months ago, please speak up so it doesn't come as a sudden surprise. I am only aware of Richard wanting to withdraw as it currently stands, which is obviously unfortunate for many reasons.
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Beachboy
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Re: The future

Post by Beachboy » Thu Feb 25 2021 9:25am

garindan wrote:
Wed Feb 24 2021 8:12pm
So I have thought about this and have some things to mention, below.

Firstly, as I set out previously, I think we should be sitting tight on these investments until the end of the first quarter of this year at the very earliest. There are multiple reasons for this and I think everyone should already be aware of them. Now there is potentially light at the end of the tunnel with Covid, it is even more important, in my eyes, that we don't simply sell everything and ruin the potential we have been developing over the past few years, with the investments we have made.

Secondly, I also think it would be a shame if the club folded. I don't think the ambition of the club has been met by any stretch of the imagination, when it comes to number of members intially envisioned. However, having said that, is that the fault of the club or that of the small the catchment from which it can attract members? I firmly believe it is the latter. Total membership over the years probably amounted to a fair and appropriate percentage of forum users. It would be unrealistic to expect a particularly high percentage of users to want to join the club and it is impossible to expand from a base number when imutual membership has flatlined, or more probably declined, over the duration the club has been active. In terms of what investment clubs are meant to achieve in practice it has been very in keeping with learning objectives.

Thirdly, whilst we have seen systems put in place for the investment club within imutual the key component is the logging of money invested by members and reports generated so calculations can be made. These are already active and shouldn't need further development. Ideas and recommendations of how these reports could have been changed to better reflect the needs of the club to monitor and attract new members have never been implemented, so the investment in technology is only really administrative for the treasurer and basic stats for the members. As a small club this isn't really an issue.

Fourthly, if imutual bins the club one of the only "interesting" elements to differentiate imutual from others and potential growth areas will have been cast aside. If the plan is basically to shut imutual down in the near term and not look for any future growth then this is not an issue.

Fifthly, recuiting officers from the membership is very difficult. Losing a secretary is not necessarily an issue. However, we do need a chairman and a treasurer. It wouldn't be right for one person to do both jobs for multiple reasons, including transparency. So even if I could do both roles it wouldn't be right. Therefore, we do need another volunteer to help steer the ship. Richard has said he would help pass over to a new treasurer, so as long as there is someone who can do that role the club is good.

Sixthly, and finally, there has been talk in the past of whether money outside of cashback could be invested in the club. I have always been against it to be honest. However, if it would be seen as helpful to get the club more active then I could potentially be talked round. I'd need to understand how that would make any difference to things.

So my overall view is I don't want the club to end, at least not at this point in time as I currently feel it is inappropriate. I don't have a problem with reviewing this at the midpoint of this year. If we end now I feel like the past few years of effort, persistence and patience - something we have matured into having - will have been a total waste of everybody's time and undervalues our investments.

If however there are people wanting to leave the club and don't share that view then, as I mentioned on a thread a few months ago, please speak up so it doesn't come as a sudden surprise. I am only aware of Richard wanting to withdraw as it currently stands, which is obviously unfortunate for many reasons.
I think you make some very valid and interesting points that I agree with. If we are looking at how to keep the club functioning from a governance perspective I think due to the way we operate (i.e online with occasional votes) that the club could easily cope without the Secretary function (although we might need a Secretary in at least name only to comply with our rules - would need to check). I would be happy to step up and take on the Treasurer role if it meant the difference between the club folding or not, but not precious if someone else would like to do this.

It might be timely to review the CIC rules at somepoint soon because as you highlight it is difficult to attract new members to the CIC at a time when Imutual itself seems like it is going into hibernation awaiting better future wider economic times, with the knock-on impact being that it is now much harder to earn cashback to put into the CIC on a regular basis.

The CIC, whilst obviously not of interest to everyone, is genuinely one of the unique features of Imutual and in my view would be a mistake just to bin with a couple of Officers stepping aside, which is completely normal for any club/organisation up and down the country be it sports, arts, village hall, memory cafe etc.
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richard@imutual
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Re: The future

Post by richard@imutual » Thu Feb 25 2021 5:38pm

Beachboy wrote:
Thu Feb 25 2021 9:25am
I would be happy to step up and take on the Treasurer role
Great, that's fine by me. We should have a formal vote, and then sort out your bank / dealing account access

I will do the necessary end-of-year stuff after April 5th and look to handover to you from there :thumbup:
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Re: The future

Post by hiswitzend » Fri Feb 26 2021 3:53pm

In the present circumstances yes i feel we may want to rethink some of the rules, I know i am struggling now for the cashback.

It would be a shame for our learning to go to waste and just stop, however if that is the general feeling then i will go with that.

I am sorry but with my commitments i cannot take a position on currently.
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Beachboy
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Re: The future

Post by Beachboy » Sun Feb 28 2021 11:50am

It looks like we have enough existing members that want to carry on so that is great. In my view it t doesn't really matter should it only get to a handful and we still have funds to operate because we are not causing any harm whatsoever to other Imutual members and the door as always remains open for new people to join - particularly when (hopefully) the fortunes of Imutual/cashback sites generally/the wider economy is looking brighter - thus retaining a genuine USP for the site. 🙂
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garindan
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Re: The future

Post by garindan » Fri Mar 12 2021 12:55pm

So the lack of any further members volunteering for the role of treasurer suggests we have one candidate, in Beachboy, which I will call a vote on to confirm if the club is happy for him to succeed Richard in the role or not. I'll pop this up in the next couple of days :thumbup:
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