Bure Valley Group is an investment introducer platform which links successful investors with exciting, innovative UK startups seeking funding. This content is for information purposes only and should not be taken as financial or investment advice.
Consumer Duty is an important – but often “unseen” – aspect of the UK tax landscape which has important implications for investors. Below, we explain how it bears upon the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), in particular, in 2023 and how investors may wish to adapt their portfolios in light of some important regulatory updates.
We hope these insights are useful to you. To find out more about our EIS pipeline and other opportunities, visit our portfolio page here. For enquiries regarding our latest projects and funding, you can reach us via:
+44 160 334 0827
What is consumer Duty?
Consumer Duty was introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in 2021 – formally coming into force in July 2023. It sets a standard for financial services firms to abide by, aiming to protect consumers who are considering, and buying, various financial products such as insurance and various banking solutions.
We welcome the new rules which should provide further stimulus for healthy competition and encourage greater transparency about products and investment opportunities to consumers. There are four specific areas in which Consumer Duty aims to improve:
- Consumer understanding. Customers should have all relevant information to ensure full understanding of a financial product before purchase.
- Price and value. Products should be sold at a fair price, offering fair value to customers out of the range of options available.
- Products & services. These should be “fit for purpose” and appropriate for different customers’ needs.
- Customer support. Customers must be able to easily find the help they need if a problem or question arises about a financial product or service.
What is EIS?
The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) is not a financial “product” like insurance. Rather, it is a tax-efficient means for individuals to invest in UK startups and other early-stage companies. The scheme was introduced in 1994 and has since raised over £30 billion invested which has been invested in over 50,000 companies. Last year alone, around £2.3 billion was invested into EIS-qualifying investments.
Examples of the tax reliefs on offer to investors include 30% income tax relief on EIS investments worth up to £1 million (per year). There is no capital gains tax due on qualifying shares which have been held for at least three years, and no inheritance tax (IHT) due on shares held for a minimum of two years. Investors can also enjoy loss relief equivalent to their highest marginal rate of income tax.
Consumer Duty & EIS
Ultimately, Consumer Duty is designed to give investors confidence in the UK’s investment sector. EIS is an important part of that sector, especially when there is a higher probability of default compared to larger, more established companies. EIS shares are fairly illiquid and are typically deployed for the medium-long term, putting them into the category of “risk capital”.
Whilst the growth potential of EIS opportunities can outstrip those on offer from many publicly-listed shares, these companies are usually more susceptible to economic downturns and market swings. It is worth noting that the wording of Consumer Duty pertains mostly to “retail investors” rather than “professional investors” (who are more likely to invest in EIS).
With that said, the Consumer Duty regulations spell out – in clearer language – what standards financial firms should be meeting when dealing with investors. At Bure Valley Group, we already strive to ensure that our network members have all relevant information about our EIS opportunities before making an informed decision about whether to invest.
The Consumer Duty rules, however, are an important call for us (and other firms) to take a closer look at what we do and why – ensuring this is always communicated clearly to investors.
What we do, and why
In that spirit, let us take this opportunity to explain the value can Bure Valley Group can offer to investors, and our reasons for doing so.
At Bure Valley Group, we offer an exclusive network to investors who are looking to invest in early-stage UK-based companies. We focus on companies with strong fundamentals (e.g. sustainable competitive advantage and competent owners at the helm) and which qualify for tax-efficient schemes like EIS – offering maximum real returns and mitigated risks to investors.
Over time, we have built up a large “repository” of high-growth-potential opportunities which have passed our stringent set of vetting requirements. Being part of our network gives investors the chance to rub shoulders with other like-minded people, drawing from each others’ knowledge and experience. As iron sharpens iron, so one seasoned investor sharpens another!
We do all of this because we believe strongly that the UK offers a range of unique, valuable early-stage companies which could radically transform jobs, markets and even ways of life. Think of the unicorns which have already done this. They are not the last – there will be others, currently waiting to be discovered.
Our team at Bure Valley Group is committed to helping investors find the best early-stage opportunities to complement their portfolios, especially in the spheres (and cross-sections) of technology and EIS.
Interested in finding out more about the exciting startup projects we have on offer to investors here at Bure Valley Group?
Get in touch today to start a conversation with our team and discuss some of the great investment memorandums we have available here:
+44 160 334 0827