The MoneyLab Blog

Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital

Recent Posts

Sapphire Capital Partners LLP signed the Women in Finance Charter

Posted by Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital on 19-Nov-2018 16:56:27

I am excited to announce that we have signed the Women in Finance Charter, which is a formal pledge of Sapphire Capital Partners LLP's support to improve gender diversity in the financial sector, and to enable business women's talent to be optimised for the greater good of businesses and the economy.

As stated on the UK government's website, "too few women in finance get to the top."  Although I am very happy to see such a public and impactful acknowledgement, I believe that even this factual assertion is an understatement.  Women face such significant barriers and challenges to career progression that even staying in employment within the finance sector proves difficult, and that is not even entertaining the idea or hope of rising to the top and maintaining their position there.

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Topics: Women in Finance

Autumn Statement 2018 - SEIS and EIS considerations

Posted by Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital on 12-Nov-2018 09:37:17

 

This blog could be the last ever to be written about the 2018 Autumn Statement.  I apologise for the delay.  My excuse is that it wasn't very exciting from an Enterprise Investment Scheme ("EIS") perspective because there were no further changes to the rules, but rather a series of progress reports.  The boring nature of this Budget is an excellent thing as companies and advisers are still trying to grasp the recent changes effected in mid-March 2018. 

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Topics: Autumn Statement

Growth Investor Awards 2018 Press Release - Sapphire Capital Partners announced as "One To Watch" in the Best SEIS Investment Manager award

Posted by Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital on 09-Nov-2018 10:38:04


Below is Intelligent Partnership's press release from this year's Growth Investor Awards which took place earlier this week:

Sapphire Capital Partners announced one to watch in Best SEIS Investment Manager award

  • Roger Blears, Senior Partner at RW Blears, announced Sapphire Capital Partners as the one to watch in the 2018 Best SEIS Investment Manager award sponsored by RW Blears Solicitors
  • Five impressive finalists went head-to-head competing for the prestigious title
  • Visit growthinvestorawards.com for details of winners and runners-up in all 15 categories
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Topics: Sapphire Capital team

We are hiring! Belfast based fund compliance associate wanted!

Posted by Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital on 10-Oct-2018 09:24:39

Sapphire Capital Partners LLP is a Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) authorised, multi-award winning firm.  We aim to supply a highly professional, efficient and personal service to our clients (primarily Seed EIS and EIS companies and investment funds) and to nurture long-term mutually beneficial relationships with clients and associated advisers. 

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Topics: Sapphire Capital team

You are invited to the 2018 EISA "Ready, Steady, Grow" Belfast event!

Posted by Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital on 31-Aug-2018 13:53:36


Once again we are excited to be hosting the 2018 EIS Association's  "Ready, Steady, Grow" Belfast event.

We invite you to join us on the 25th of September at 4pm at the Ormeau Baths, 18 Ormeau Avenue, Belfast.  You can register for this event by clicking here

Here are three reasons why you should consider attending:

  1. An impressive line-up of speakers from Northern Ireland and beyond talking about their experience and perspective on EIS.
  2. A great free networking opportunity.
  3. An open forum where you can get questions about EIS and finance raising answered by experts.

 

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Topics: EISA

SEIS/EIS for film - is it still possible?

Posted by Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital on 21-Aug-2018 12:47:15


It is five months since the latest SEIS/EIS rules were enacted (see our prior blog “Autumn Statement 2017 – SEIS and EIS implications”), and we are now starting to understand the effect, particularly within the film and TV sector which appears to be significantly impacted.

 

The complexity related to EIS and film companies results from the new “Risk to Capital” condition enacted on the 15th of March 2018.  This condition, which gives more discretionary powers to HMRC was introduced to ensure the schemes support early-stage companies with the potential to grow in the long term. The change was required as certain companies used the schemes to create tax motivated, low-risk investment opportunities, referred to as “capital preservation investments” (e.g., using EIS monies to buy property from which the company traded).

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Topics: 2017 Autumn Statement, HMRC advance assurance, Film, Film SEIS

Irish cross border trade considerations for Brexit & beyond

Posted by Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital on 15-May-2018 15:03:43


The stickiest point in the Brexit considerations is, arguably, the question of the Irish border, being the UK’s only land border. As a result, there is uncertainty and ensuing anxiety for entrepreneurs and early-stage companies both North and South of the border, that are trying to figure out how to best prepare themselves.

Here is how I see what Irish entrepreneurs need to think about in order to  prepare for Brexit and the ensuing implications for cross border trade between the South and the North of Ireland:

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Topics: EIS Schemes

Four key changes to SEIS & EIS you now need to be aware of

Posted by Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital on 26-Mar-2018 16:03:51


 

The EIS changes initially announced in the 2017 Autumn Statement have now passed into law with the granting of Royal Assent on the 15th of March 2018. Here are the four main changes that you need to be aware of currently:

1) Advance assurance applications must include the names and addresses of potential investors. This change was made to reduce the number of applications that HMRC receives, to reduce the volume of requests to better concentrate efforts on propositions that have a higher likelihood of raising capital. HMRC guidelines require for applicants to provide the names and addresses of six interested investors (of course if you are raising a small amount, six names may not be necessary). For more information on this change, please see our prior blog called "The chicken or the egg? New HMRC requirements to stop speculative SEIS/EIS advance assurance applications".

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Topics: EIS Schemes

MiFID II rules for investment advisory fees

Posted by Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital on 10-Jan-2018 09:51:53

 

As MiFID II is now in force and compliance with the new regulations is on everyone's minds, entrepreneurs and investors should ensure they understand the rules for Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) charges, particularly with relation to raising capital.

MiFID II aims to ensure that "investment firms act in the best interest of their clients"* by requiring companies to improve governance and business conduct, as well as introducing new supervisory powers at both national and European level. The implementation of the legislation sets out more specific requirements to achieve this goal.

While the rules have changed from MiFID I, few of these changes are new to the UK market, as a lot of the rules were already adopted from the implementation of the FCA's Retail Distribution Review (RDR) in 2012. The RDR effectively brought tighter controls to IFA charges and technical knowledge requirements for independent financial advisors in the UK.

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Topics: Information Memorandum, private equity, Investor Documents, Entrepreneurship

"Ready, Steady, Grow" Belfast rescheduled

Posted by Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital on 08-Dec-2017 07:00:00


Hurricane Ophelia (aka just another windy day in Belfast) made us cancel our October date for hosting, alongside GBI Magazine, the EIS Association's  "Ready, Steady, Grow" Belfast event (#Readysteadygrow).

I am however pleased to announce that the event is now rescheduled to be held on Tuesday the 16th of January at 1.30pm at the Metropolitan Arts Centre.  

Here are three reasons why you should consider attending Ready, Steady, Grow:

 

 

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Topics: EISA

Autumn Statement 2017 - SEIS and EIS implications

Posted by Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital on 22-Nov-2017 22:00:55


Today's Autumn Statement 2017 gave positive news for the patient capital sector and a vote of confidence to the Enterprise Investment Schemes. Following Twitter this afternoon, one could almost hear a collective sigh of relief coming from financial advisors, investors and entrepreneurs alike, as the action points from the Patient Capital review were revealed. The main changes announced for the Enterprise investment schemes are as follows:

 1) The support to "knowledge intensive" companies significantly expanded, doubling the limits for investment in such companies. The annual investment limit will increase to £2 million, and a qualifying firm will now be able to raise up to £10 million through EIS. Also, there will be greater flexibility as to the age limit of a company, so that older enterprises could still avail of the schemes.
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Topics: 2017 Autumn Statement

Upcoming changes to the Enterprise Investment Scheme rules

Posted by Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital on 24-Oct-2017 09:28:48

 

Over the past few months, the Enterprise Investment Schemes received a lot of attention as HM Treasury published their Patient Capital Review Consultation. It is fair to say that some negative feelings for the schemes surfaced as a result of the consultation's conclusions. The private sector has responded, and the result is that significant changes to the schemes are to be announced during the Chancellor's Autumn Statement scheduled for the 22nd of November, 2017.

 

What potential changes should we expect?

Mark Brownridge, the Director General of the EIS Association recently explained to EIS Association members that the upcoming changes are being made to sharpen the schemes' focus on "high risk, innovative and growing companies that can scale up". Making a case for increasing employment and tax revenue will no longer be enough for a company to avail of the schemes. Mark identified a pattern coming out of his discussions with government officials: "listen carefully ... and the keywords you will hear are growth, innovation, and technology. This is [government's] new definition of well targeted. Whether you agree or not, this is HM Treasury's desired direction of travel."

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Topics: 2017 Autumn Statement

3 reasons why you should attend the "Ready, Steady, Grow" Belfast event

Posted by Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital on 06-Oct-2017 07:31:24


Speaking on behalf of the team here at Sapphire, we are excited to be hosting, alongside GBI Magazine, the EIS Association's  "Ready, Steady, Grow" Belfast (#Readysteadygrow).

The event is to be held on the 17th of October at 1.30pm at the Metropolitan Arts Centre.  

Here are three reasons why you should consider attending:

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Topics: EISA

Issuing SEIS and EIS shares - 4 key considerations

Posted by Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital on 31-Aug-2017 15:43:53


So, you successfully obtained SEIS and EIS advance assurance from HMRC and successfully raised your “risk finance” capital. Congratulations are in order, as achieving all of this is a lot of hard work! Before you pop open the champagne, however, you must ensure that you correctly issue the SEIS and EIS shares, as errors in share issuance can put all your hard work in jeopardy. (Grab a cup of coffee instead and read on, as there is still more work to do...)

Share issuances cannot easily be amended once filed and may result in your investors not being able to avail of the Enterprise Investment Schemes. If investors aren’t able to avail of the SEIS / EIS tax incentives, you may end up losing the finance promised to you.

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when you are about to issue SEIS and EIS shares:

 

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Topics: SEIS

Spring 2017 Budget - Implications for EIS and R&D Tax Credits

Posted by Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital on 08-Mar-2017 23:28:21


As promised in the 2016 Autumn Statement, today we were presented with the last Spring Budget, whose purpose was to provide a transition into an annual budget presentation that will give a longer term outlook for adopting new measures.  As such, the content of today's presentation was focused on highlighting areas that may have changed since the Autumn Statement (such as the deficit), as well as re-iterating the main principles of this new government's vision on how to build a "stronger, better, fairer Britain".

The Chancellor furthermore made a point to reiterate the government's commitment to maintaining Britain as a top global business destination.  There were measures that could be seen to limit incentives/support to entrepreneurs and small businesses, such as the increase in National Insurance Contributions for certain classes of self employed persons (LLPs), and targeting business rates increases for certain sectors - such as the "digital part" - of the small business economy, as most business rate cuts announced  were for local "brick and mortar" businesses (like pubs).  Furthermore, there was a cut in the dividend allowance for shareholders in companies, as the allowance was deemed "overly generous".  Although these changes were done in the name of "fairness", such tweaks may indirectly impact early stage companies and the SME sector in general.

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Topics: 2017 Spring Budget

EU State Aid rules and the Enterprise Investment Scheme

Posted by Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital on 01-Feb-2017 15:40:13


The word “Entrepreneur” originates from French, and was first used by the economist Jean-Baptiste Say in the early 19th century.  Its direct translation is “adventurer”, and that meaning conjures up attributes of bravery, resilience, and going beyond one’s comfort zone.

The current geo-political climate made me reluctant to write this blog as Brexit, with the potential triggering of Article 50, may indeed make this information null and void at some unknown point in time.  

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Topics: EIS

Autumn Statement 2016 Implications for SEIS, EIS, and SITR

Posted by Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital on 24-Nov-2016 11:33:42


We were eagerly awaiting to hear the 2016 Autumn Statement in order gain some insight as to how the government proposes to deal with the resulting market uncertainty created by the Brexit referendum, and what the new prime minister and her cabinet are seeking to achieve.

The main take-away points were:

  1. Productivity of the UK workforce is a main focus for improvement, and the government plans to do this by creating a £23 billion Productivity Investment Fund to promote innovation and infrastructure; the money is to be used primarily for housing, transport, telecoms and R&D projects. This funding will flow through the British Business Bank in order to improve prosperity and commerce in regions outside London, and in particular for the North of England.
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Topics: SITR, SEIS, EIS

Invitation to Sapphire Capital's "Raising Capital" EIS Event

Posted by Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital on 06-Nov-2016 17:28:45


There has never been a better time to set up a company in the UK. The government support offered by both the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme ("SEIS") and the Enterprise Investment scheme ("EIS") provides start-ups with an excellent method to attract much needed capital in order to get a company started.

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Topics: EIS

Breaking SEIS/EIS rules - what are the repercussions?

Posted by Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital on 24-Oct-2016 09:21:47

 

SEIS and EIS facilitate private investment into companies by providing investors generous taxincentives, such as income tax relief, capital gains tax deferral, inheritance tax relief and loss relief. A great summary of investor incentives can be found on the infographic that we created for a prior blog: SEIS versus EIS - a visual comparison.

 

One of the requirements for companies to qualify for SEIS and/or EIS, is that they must continue trading for at least three years from the time the SEIS/EIS shares are issued. This requirement reinforces government’s commitment to support entrepreneurship and permanent job creation within the UK. Government wishes to support medium to long term company trade, and we have seen a tightening of the rules around the schemes to ensure that they serve this purpose.

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Topics: EIS

Dispelling the myths about R&D Tax Credits

Posted by Vasiliki Carson, Sapphire Capital on 13-Sep-2016 14:59:48

 

“Myth:  (1) A traditional story, especially one covering the early history of a people or explaining a natural/social phenomenon [like the ancient Greek myth of Ikaros, pictured here, who attempted to fly...].  (2) widely held but false belief.”[1] 

 

R&D Tax Credits have been around for quite some time, yet many early stage / start-up entrepreneurs seem to be only vaguely familiar with them, shying away from taking the time to consider the scheme.This lack of enthusiasm appears to stem from “widely held but false beliefs”, such as:

a) that the credits are only for larger, established companies with their own separate R&D departments;

b) that start-ups experience losses in their first years of trading, and as such, there is no need to apply for Tax Credits;

c) that the claiming process will be too much of a hassle for what it would be worth;

As these myths are preventing companies from optimising governmental incentives (and essentially losing out on money), I am going to try to dispel them.

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Topics: R&D