Are there more clients becoming interested in the schemes?
“Absolutely. They’re recognising the opportunity. We also encourage investors with specific skills which are of interest to the businesses we support to get involved. This is why we launched our Venture Partner programme. It allows those who are interested and have the required skill set to get really close to the businesses and provide professional support and fundamentally add real value to these businesses.”
How can advisers continue to educate their clients about the investment opportunities in EIS?
“It comes down to fund managers and advisers working together to educate each other. Enhanced communication from the fund managers on the underlying businesses can only help advisers when talking to clients. This will help remove much of the mystery around the sector.”
Does the industry need to do more to promote the schemes to a wider investor base?
“EIS and the tax efficient investing space is a great sector and one which has the opportunity to grow massively over the coming years, but there are areas which can be improved to generate a positive impact on the growth of the sector. A great deal of reticence comes about from poor and ineffective communication across many areas, not least fees and the level of detail of the investments made. Fears often come from the unknown and, as a fund manager, we have to change that.”
Has the continued confusion over Brexit affected the future of EIS?
“Most of our investments are focused on the UK market, but naturally everyone’s mindful of Brexit. It’s just another situation that needs constant monitoring, something all investors are used to.”
Are there any clouds on the horizon that might spoil the party?
“Covid-19 has been an obvious cloud on the horizon. Although funding is likely to be down for the year as a whole, there are a lot of opportunities in the pipeline that give us plenty of reasons to be positive. There has been a noticeable positive shift in confidence in the last month or so. The whole market is in shock, but confidence is seeping back in.”
About Jonathan Prescott, Business Development Director at Praetura Ventures
Jonathan has almost 25 years’ experience within the financial services sector. Having spent over 15 years at AJ Bell as Business Development Manager forging links with advisers across the country. Jonathan subsequently spent over 4 years at Octopus Investments, as Area Sales Director for the North, Scotland and Northern Ireland where he was responsible for a team of Business Development Managers and for implementation of the group’s sales strategy across the region. Jonathan has a thorough understanding of VCT, EIS and BR.