The most innovative and impactful fund managers, investment platforms, financial advisers and wealth managers specialising in alternative investments have today been revealed as finalists for the inaugural Growth Investor Awards - which recognise all those involved in putting investment to work in UK SMEs and enabling 'scale up' businesses to realise their full potential to create jobs and wealth.
Representing all regions of the UK, including Northern Ireland, finalists highlight the diversity of the industry - with funds ranging from £1m to £85m. Among those shortlisted for more than one award are Octopus Investments, Mercia Technologies, MMC Ventures, Calculus Capital, Puma Investments, Beringea, TIME Investments, SyndicateRoom, Kuber Ventures and Lawson Conner.
The Awards are organised by Intelligent Partnership (IP), the UK's leading provider of research and education in alternative investments, and supported by partners including the UKCFA, BVCA and EISA. The sponsors of the inaugural Growth Investor Awards are Bovill, DWF LLP, LGBR Capital, Mainspring, Matrix Solutions, RAM Capital Partners, Reyker, and RW Blears.
The shortlist was guided by an Advisory Board of industry leaders and influencers including Tony Langham, Chairman of Unbiased.co.uk & Chief Executive of Lansons; Sarah Wadham, Director General of the Enterprise Investment Scheme Association (EISA); Martin McCourt, former CEO of Dyson & director of Montagu Private Equity; Tim hames, Director General of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA); and Sherry Coutu CBE, angel investor, entrepreneur and Non-Executive Director of the London Stock Exchange who authored The Scale-Up Report on UK Economic Growth in 2014.
Commenting on the importance of the Growth Investor Awards at a meeting of the Advisory Board, Tony Langham said: "The investment management industry does a great job for society, and helps millions of clients around the country with savings and pensions; but from a public policy point of view it's under a lot of pressure to show what it does for the real economy in terms of infrastructure, growth in jobs and wealth creation. These Awards provide a national platform to demonstrate the industry's impact on SME growth."
Commenting on the importance of tax efficient investments to the UK economy, Sarah Wadham said: "Some of our bigger companies are not developing new jobs, and in fact downsizing and shedding employees. Practically all growth in employment is coming from SMEs and they are largely funded by the Enterprise Investment Scheme. These companies don't have any assets and banks can't lend to them in their early stages so EIS and SEIS has really fuelled growth and innovation."
Daniel Kiernan, Research Director of Intelligent Partnership, who headed up the shortlist, commented: "The judging criteria for the Growth Investor Awards was designed in consultation with the industry to ensure it is truly reflective of what is driving improvement and innovation. It's great to see such a high standard of entries in the inaugural year of these awards and fascinating to see how finalists are adding value while enabling growth. The shortlist has demonstrated that there is real innovation and impact in this industry."
Thirty five industry leading businesses and individuals have been recognised for awards including Financial Adviser of the Year and Wealth Manager of the Year for those best applying research and education in alternative investments to add value for clients diversifying their portfolios; Best Investment Platform, for equity crowdfunding and investment aggregation sites with the best user experience and product innovation; and Best EIS/SEIS/BPR/VCT Investment Manager awards for fund managers demonstrating innovation in product development, adviser engagement, and impact on SME growth.
Finalist entries will now go to a second round of judging to determine the winner in each award category. This independent panel of judges is drawn from within and outside the industry - to bring a range of perspectives and level the playing field. The winner of the Industry Champion Award will be voted for by the Advisory Board later in the year.
Guy Tolhurst, Managing Director of Intelligent Partnership, commented: "This is an exciting and growing industry and with that growth in competition there is a need for fund managers and platforms to differentiate in the eyes of the advisory community and the investors. The Growth Investor Awards help them to achieve that by telling the story of how they are putting money to work in UK SMEs."
Winners will be revealed at the Growth Investor Awards black tie dinner held on the evening of Thursday 22 October at the Marriott Grosvenor Square in Mayfair, London. Visit http://growthinvestorawards.com/shortlist/ for a full list of all finalists and information on how to attend the event.
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