“We welcome the continued government focus on capital markets reform that featured several positive measures in the Autumn Statement. However, there is still much to be done to divert capital from various sources into publicly traded growth stocks that have the potential to boost regional economies all over the UK.”
On the extension of the EIS and VCT schemes:
“The extension of the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Venture Capital Trust (VCT) sunset clauses from April 2025 to April 2035 is highly welcome, providing certainty to companies and investors and ensuring the direction of capital into growth businesses which would otherwise struggle to attract conventional funding.
“That being said, the Government has missed an opportunity to strengthen further these valuable schemes. By extending their scope and updating cumbersome and outdated processing and eligibility criteria, the benefits of the scheme could have been much wider.”
On the simplification of ISAs:
“The reforms announced to Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) lack sufficient ambition. Whilst minor changes making ISAs easier to use are broadly positive developments, they will fall some way short of producing meaningful impact for the UK’s public companies.
“We advocated, along with other industry bodies, for a greater proportion of ISA funds to be channelled into UK equities through a new ISA product and are disappointed to see the Government’s decision not to take this forward.”
On the various measures announced around pension reform:
“Reform of the UK’s pensions apparatus is greatly needed. The withdrawal of £1.9 trillion in pension money from UK companies over the last 25 years has been extremely damaging for the UK’s capital markets.
“We broadly welcome the Government’s announcements in this area, both in terms of helping to stimulate investment into British businesses and to give savers a meaningful retirement package.
“Much of the attention around the various measures announced in the Autumn Statement are, however, focussed on private equity and venture capital. More needs to be done to ensure that the UK’s public companies receive better backing. We passionately believe that absentee UK pension funds must step up.”
On formal consultations over Rachel Kent’s Investment Research Review due in 2024:
“The Chancellor accepted in summer all the recommendations made to government by Rachel Kent’s innovative review which explored how to revive equity research to inform investment in smaller companies in particular. It is therefore disappointing that further consultations will not emerge until next year.
We know that broader corporate coverage will drive buyer interest and therefore liquidity in these stocks. That is vital when you consider that the London markets feature 100 fewer public companies than this time last year. Ascertaining how the proposed Research Platform will be funded is so far an opportunity missed.”
On a potential NatWest share sale to retail investors in the next 12 months:
“Giving the public the opportunity to invest in businesses they know and transact with every day, just like NatWest, is a positive step to broadening retail share ownership which we know can boost the UK economy.”
On the update to the Financial Reporting Council’s remit:
“True proportionality in regulation and governance is something the QCA has strived for since its inception. Too often the potential of smaller companies is suppressed by one-size-fits-all regulation.
“With that in mind we welcome the update to the FRC’s remit, which includes the wider effort to promote the competitiveness and growth of the UK economy.
“That must embrace competitiveness in the audit market, where quality has risen but the lack of affordability and availability of auditors for small public companies is a grave concern.”