Saturday 18 January 2020

Terry Ramsden And His Half A Billion Mistake

Most gamblers remember Terry Ramsden. 

Essex man made good. An investor and gambler. His mastery of Japanese stock saw him make millions. In fact, he became self-employed at 19 and earned £25,000 in his first month. 

Clearly, he was an astute businessman. He knew his trade and made a killing. As many of you know, his weakness, if not his Achilles Heel, was his love of betting on the horses. 

However, few realise that he made money gambling in those early years, giving him enough cash (with his other trading knowledge) to purchase Glen International in 1984. 

It is said, his annual turnover went from £18,000 to £3.5 billion in three years and with it the accolade of being the 57th richest man in the United Kingdom. At his peak, his net worth was a staggering £150 million. 

He owned houses around the world, flashy cars, expensive watches, and a media man's dream. In 1986 he bet £500,000 (£250,000 each-way) on his horse Mr. Snugfit to win the Grand National. The horse came 4th returning a cool £1 million.  

All that was about to change. 

In 1988, following the 1987 stock market crash, and later the Japanese market bubble bursting, Ramsden lost a staggering £58 million gambling on horse racing and suffered a capital loss of £100 million. 

In 1991, he was arrested and jailed in Los Angles for six months while awaiting extradition to the United Kingdom for fraud. A claim Ramsden denied. 

By 1992, he was in debt to the tune of £100 million. He was declared bankrupt and pleaded guilty in 1993 to recklessly inducing fresh investments into Glen International. He received a two year suspended sentence. 

However, in 1997, he breached his Insolvency Act after it was discovered he was hiding £300,000 in assets and sentenced to almost two years in prison. He served 10 months. 

His wife had left him, all the hangers-on nowhere to be seen. 

Ramsden returned to his love of trading working in the private treaty market, creating a trading system that sped up trading equities transactions. The company grew to be worth £250 million. 

In 2003, he was cleared by the Jockey Club to own horses again. One horse, Jake The Snake, a two-year-old purchased for 16,000 euros at the yearling sales, named after his son, won on debut at Lingfield at odds of 2/1. It was trained by Conrad Allen, but sold after the initial start as not living up to expectation. 

The interesting part of Terry Ramsden's story is that he said at the time he wanted to be the first billionaire in the UK. And in a way, he wasn't so far away with his investments (if only he hadn't lost his shirt along the way). At one point he owned 30% shares in Chelsea F.C. In 2018 the club, one of the richest in the world, was worth about £2 billion pounds. If Terry had kept his investments that alone would be worth £600 million this day. 

Many punters point to Ramsden for being a gambling fool. Sure, much of his betting cost him dear but that had as much to do with the stock market crash which saw millions of investors fall by the way. Ramsden never gave up, even in times when he had lost just about everything he held dear but lived to fight another day. He is someone who won and lost more money than the likes of any punter who tries to say they know better. But how many of you were ever worth £100 million? 

A classic tale of rags to riches - to rags to somewhat comfortable in bank balance and his own skin. 

Author: By Jason Coote

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