LEO Review: Personal development DVDs & recruitment
LEO, which stands for “Learn Earn Own” launched in 2012 and claim to have global headquarters in the UK.
I say claim because LEO’s supplied address, Howberry Manor is part of the Howberry Business Park.
Howberry Business Park provide a list of businesses in the park, with LEO being noticeably absent.
I’d be inclined to give the company the benefit of the doubt and suggest that perhaps the Howberry Park business listing wasn’t a complete directory, but when I punched in LEO’s other office addresses into Google here’s what I found:
- Dubai – PO Box
- Hong Kong – virtual mailing address provided by JumpStart ($134 HKD ($17.30 USD) a month)
- Egypt – virtual office space provided by Regus
- India – virtual office space provided by Regus
- Turkey – lawyer office uses same address, advertises “virtual office serves” on their website (difficulty with language barrier)
- Germany – “LEO Tower” address doesn’t appear to exist, website advises a LEO Tower might one day be built in Dubai
Given this, I’m putting a question mark as to whether or not LEO has any actual office space anywhere in the world.
Listed as the Founder, CEO and President of LEO is a one Mr. Dan Andersson (right).
Andersson’s LEO corporate profile is light on specifics, and instead reads as vague marketing copy:
In many ways Dan’s career has been a quest to find a platform to act as a catalyst for this vision of personal and professional development.
As a by product of this search he has gained European and Global direct selling executive experience; he did management and training consultancy to Fortune 500 companies.
Dan’s most relevant experience is probably when he was a training consultant, starting out of nowhere building a consultancy contributing to some of Europe’s most successful companies.
Clients included Toyota, DHL, Phillips, Digital Equipment, some of the largest retailers in the UK, banks, professional service firms, and a whole cross section of modern and traditional business.
After being a successful consultant he found himself back in Direct Selling when a UK Telecoms company asked him to join them as European Sales Director.
After that he joined one of the largest Chinese companies in the world and ended up as one of six Vice Presidents. Dan was responsible for the 24 countries in Europe, as well as Israel, Canada and USA.
I believe the “UK Telecoms COmpany” mentioned above is none other than SiteTalk/Unaico. BusinessForHome cited Andersson as President of the company in 2011.
Unaico SiteTalk was a failed MLM venture that revolved around a social network. A virtual share offering was tied into the business, along with commission qualification based on how much an affiliate paid the company.
Little to no retail activity took place, with SiteTalk Unaico collapsing around the time Annderson left in 2012. They’ve since rebranded as The Opportunity Network and have gone on to release multiple revisions of their Site Talk social network.
Last I checked in the company continued to operate at a loss and were trying to crack into the US market.
How much of hand Andersson played in all of that panning out I have no idea, but as President he would have had some direct involvement back in the early Unaico SiteTalk days.
In any event, after apparently realizing that opportunity was going nowhere, Andersson abandoned ship and went on to launch LEO.
Read on for a full review of the LEO MLM business opportunity.
The LEO Product Line
LEO advertise several personal development dvd sets on their website:
- LEO Academy (£25 GBP) – includes “the Lion Code”, “the Inspired Live” (sic) and “Becoming a Lion”
- LEO Mastery (£125 GBP) – includes “the Yes Secret” and “the Yes Secret 1 to 1”
- LEO Leadership (£500 GBP) – includes “Jackie Jarvis Consultant Sales”, “Presentation Skills” and “Decision Making”
No information is provided on who is behind the DVDs, or who authored the content on the discs.
A product video features on the LEO website, but at the time of publication it was “unavailable”:
The LEO Compensation Plan
The LEO compensation plan primarily revolves around the recruitment of new affiliates, and their purchasing of one of three available affiliate packs.
Each pack, along with the rest of LEO’s product line generates Bonus Points (BP), Rank Points (RP) and Status Points (SP), which are used to calculate various commissions within the LEO compensation plan.
LEO Affiliate Membership Ranks
In addition to various qualification ranks (see “Rank Achievement Bonus” below), there are five core membership ranks within the LEO compensation plan:
- Basic – purchase £10 LEO credit pack (only 5% payout via binary, no access to rest of compensation plan)
- Bronze – spend £125 when joining LEO or recruit an affiliate who does
- Silver – spend £500 when joining LEO or recruit an affiliate who does
- Gold – spend £1000 when joining LEO or recruit an affiliate who does
- Platinum – spend £5000 when joining LEO or recruit an affiliate who does
When a newly recruited LEO affiliate signs up with the company, their purchase of an affiliate pack generates Business Points (BP).
Referred to as the “Team Builder Bonus”, LEO affiliates at the Bronze or higher level earn 10% of the BPs generated:
- Startup (£125 GBP) – 125 BPs
- Business (£500 GBP) – 500 BPs
- Professional (£1000 GBP) – 1000 BPs
Effectively, a 10% commission is paid whenever a new LEO affiliate is signed up (providing they purchase an affiliate pack).
Note that Basic ranked affiliates only earn 5% of the BPs generated.
Residual commissions in LEO are paid out weekly using a binary compensation structure.
A binary compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of two binary teams, left and right:
Positions are filled in these teams via the recruitment of new affiliates. At the end of each week the bonus points are tallied on both sides of the binary, with affiliates earning 10% of the points generated by their weaker side.
Points are flushed weekly using a 1:1 ratio, with earnings also capped as follows:
- Basic – not eligible
- Bronze – £500 GBP
- Silver – £2000 GBP
- Gold – £5000 GBP
- Platinum – £15,000 GBP
Note that the above earnings cap also includes the binary matching bonus (see below).
Binary Matching Bonus
A matching bonus is paid out on the binary earnings of all personally recruited affiliates.
The bonus is paid out as a percentage, using a unilevel compensation structure.
A unilevel compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of a unilevel team, with every personally recruited affiliate placed directly under them (level 1):
In turn, if any of these level 1 affiliates go on to recruit new affiliates of their own, they are then placed on level 2 of the original affiliate’s unilevel team. If any level 2 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 2 and so on and so forth.
The Binary Matching Bonus is paid out down a maximum ten levels, with level qualification tied into affiliate recruitment and membership rank as follows:
- Bronze – recruit four affiliates to qualify for payment on levels 1 to 4
- Silver – recruit four affiliates to qualify for payment on levels 1 to 4 and six affiliates to qualify for levels 5 and 6
- Gold – recruit four affiliates to qualify for payments on levels 1 to 4, six affiliates to qualify for levels 5 and 6 and eight affiliates to qualify for levels 7 and 8
- Platinum – recruit four affiliates to qualify for payments on level 1 to 4, six affiliates to qualify for levels 5 and 6, eight affiliates to qualify for levels 7 and 8 and ten affiliates to qualify for levels 9 and 10
Subject to the above level qualification criteria, the Binary Matching Bonus percentage payments per level are as follows:
- recruit 4 affiliates (all membership ranks) – 2% on levels 1 and 2 and 4% on levels 3 and 4
- recruit 6 affiliates (Silver, Gold and Platinum) – 2% on levels 1 and 2, 3% on levels 3 to 5 and 2% on level 6
- recruit 8 affiliates (Gold and Platinum) – 2% on levels 1 and 2, 3% on levels 3 to 6 and 2% on levels 7 and 8
- recruit 10 affiliates (Platinum) – 2% on levels 1 and 2, 3% on levels 3 and 4, 5% on levels 5 and 6, 3% on levels 7 and 8 and 2% on levels 9 and 10
Binary Profit Share
The remaining 90% of BP that is not paid out on binary volume that is flushed, is put into a weekly profit-sharing pool.
LEO pay out this bonus to all Bronze or higher ranked affiliates, pro-rata based on their total BP contribution to the pool.
Reverse Matching Bonus
Whereas the regular Matching Bonus pays out on an affiliate’s downline, the Reverse Matching Bonus pays out on the binary earnings of their upline.
The Reverse Matching Bonus pays up to a total of seven levels as follows:
- 5% on the first two upline levels
- 4% on levels 3 and 4
- 3% on level 5 and
- 2% on levels 6 and 7
Note that level 1 refers to the affiliate who recruited you, level 2 is the affiliate who recruited them and so on and so forth.
Also note that the Reverse Matching Bonus is only payable to Silver or higher ranked LEO affiliates.
Rank Achievement Bonus
LEO rewards affiliates who reach certain rank milestones within the LEO compensation plan.
These rewards are as follows:
- Associate (10,000 RP) – £500 LEO Tower pre-share award (??)
- Senior Associate (25,000 RP) – iPhone
- Coordinator (50,000 RP) – iPad
- Executive (100,000 RP) – “Dubai Executive Trip”
- Senior Executive (250,000 RP) – Mac Air and projector
- Director (500,000 RP) – “office” or Rolex watch
- Marketing Director (1,000,000 RP) – “car award”
- National Marketing Director (2,500,000 RP) – £20,000
- Regional Marketing Director (5,000,000 RP) -“property award”
- Global Marketing Director (10,000,000 RP) – “Dubai property award”
Note that RP above stands for “rank points”, witch each product within LEO generating a dollar for dollar RP per dollar spent by an affiliate and their less binary team (no points from the stronger binary team are counted).
LEO Director Program
Open to Director or higher ranked affiliates, LEO offers them a relocation package to Dubai.
- an employment contract
- salary – fixed and based on sales volume
- dubai residency visa for affiliate and their family
- offshore Dubai based bank accounts
Business Ownership Award
If a LEO affiliate reaches Platinum rank within 90 days of joining the company, they qualify for a £20,000 GBP Business Ownership Award payout.
Note that the although qualified for at the Platinum rank, the Business Ownership Award is not actually paid out unless a LEO affiliate reaches the Director rank.
If a LEO affiliate qualifies for the Business Ownership Award and reaches the Director rank to withdraw it, they qualify for a chance to pitch a business idea to LEO management.
Our LEO associates may come forward to LEO board to present their business idea for LEO’s investment against some sorts of stake in their company. It is
up to the sole discretion of the LEO board to invest in this business or not.
The total available finds to help start a new business could be up to £100,000.
Top of the World Award
The Top of the World Award gives a LEO affiliate an extra position in the compensation plan, placed above their entire upline (directly under the master position held by the company).
To qualify for the Top of the World Award, a LEO affiliate must be at the Platinum rank, and qualify as either a
- Senior Associate in 30 days of joining the company
- Coordinator in 60 days of joining the company
- Senior Executive within 120 days of joining the company or
- Director (no time-limit)
Note that Top of the World positions are capped earnings wise, based on an affiliate’s original position with the company:
- Senior Associate – £5000 a week
- Coordinator – £10,000 a week
- Executive – £15,000 a week
- Senior Executive – £20,000 a week
- Director – £15,000 a week
Affiliate membership to LEO is available in four options:
- Basic – purchase £10 credit pack
- Startup – purchase £125 Startup Pack
- Business – purchase £500 Business Pack
- Professional – purchase £1000 Professional Pack
Understanding the complete LEO MLM business opportunity is a bit on the tricky side. It’s somewhat convoluted, with no clear sales objective for new affiliates.
As far as I can tell, retail is non-existent, with “members” still able to earn commissions via the compensation plan (direct recruitment commissions and 5% through the binary).
This is a major red flag and dictates the nature of the rest of the LEO opportunity.
LEO essentially boils down into a chain-recruitment scheme. Affiliates join for between £10 to £5000, which fits conveniently with the affiliate packs offered and then set about recruiting affiliates who do the same.
One of the give-aways is the Platinum level, which demands £5000 be spent. As per the LEO product page, there’s nothing they sell that remotely comes near £5000, meaning an affiliate is likely going to be purchasing product at the Platinum level for the sole purpose of commission and bonus qualification.
Another is the awarding of an extra position in the compensation plan under the “Top of the World” bonus. In pyramid schemes positioning is very important, with LEO taking full advantage of that by offering positions at the top of the compensation plan as a performance incentive.
Other red-flags are the recruitment qualification criteria for the Matching Bonus and that all commissions appear to be tied into affiliate recruitment (retail is not mentioned once in the LEO compensation plan).
One interesting aspect of the compensation plan I hadn’t seen before was the reverse matching bonus. Typically an MLM company only offers a bonus on an affiliate’s downline, to encourage them to increase their volume. In LEO a matching bonus is also offered on the efforts of an affiliate’s upline, which I thought was a nice touch (albeit capped, to obviously prevent ridiculous payouts).
On the product side of things I can’t really see how they fit in anywhere, save for encouraging affiliates to spend more – which in turn generates additional Bonus, Rank and Status Points within the compensation plan.
Realistically, with not even the most basic of product information required, I’m not seeing anyone but affiliates purchasing LEO’s personal development DVDs.
The whole invest in your business idea was a bit iffy too, ditto the offering of “pre-shares” in LEO Tower. Whether or not these offerings are regulated and/or fully compliant with regulations applicable depending on where a LEO affiliate might be based is questionable.
Meanwhile Dubai itself is hardly known for its corporate regulation and compliance, so there’s that too.
All in all, even you ignore some of the finer points of the compensation plan, the issue of retail in LEO remains. This is again brought to the forefront by way of the binary profit-share, which is paid out to Bronze or higher ranked affiliates (basically anyone who buys an affiliate pack).
If the money being paid out is 100% or close to sourced solely from affiliates, then there’s also some Ponzi scheme issues at play here. Affiliates purchase a position in the comp plan and are then paid a weekly ROI, based on how much revenue they and their recruited downline have generated.
Not quite a fully fledged Ponzi business model but a concern nonetheless.
Approach with caution.