b'Strategic report Governance Financial statementsDeepening management capabilities At the beginning of the financial year, them to correspond directly with each other,I encouraged our investment teams to to share and seek ad hoc advice and focus on two areas that will accelerate valuecommercial insight, thereby creating a creation across our portfolios: building outnetwork of opportunities across the portfolio. the management teams of our investeeWe see this as an invaluable informal companies, where appropriate, through thementoring and development tool. Our addition of chairs and non-executive directorsconnected approach means that we can help via Mercias talent Platform; and furtherour portfolio companies management teams developing our network of co-investors. to take advantage of the opportunities ahead We have made significant progress on bothof them and provide them with guidance as fronts, although the positive effect on ourthey navigate the inevitable issues associated financial results has been masked to a largewith growing and scaling young businesses.degree by the current impact on asset prices from the COVID-19 pandemic. Expanding our network of co-investorsExpanding our network of like-minded Deepening management capabilities co-investors is critical to ensure that as our We have focused on increasing the collectiveportfolio continues to mature and grow,capability of the management teams that wewe can provide companies with the scale-up are backing. Through our talent resourcingcapital required, while bringing along capabilities, we have introduced companiespartners that share our vision and expandto experienced board-level support, helpedour opportunities for an exit at the right time. our portfolio make 33 senior non-executiveOur efforts during the year resulted in 12 new director board appointments and enabledinvestment partners joining syndicates the development of powerful leadershipacross our portfolio.teams. We are also building a collective of successful managers with complementaryCOVID-19skills to support our portfolio, including CFOThe COVID-19 pandemic has been an input, sales process design, new market entryincredibly difficult and stressful time for our and regulatory expertise.entrepreneurs and management teams; we have seen them act decisively and sensibly at Mercias network is an integral part of oura time of great uncertainty and I pay tribute approach to adding value by building a to them all.strong base of experienced connections, underpinned by the online and offline communication we offer. We make a Slack channel available to all of our CEOs to enable Mercia Asset Management PLC 25Annual Report and Accounts 2020'