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Budget 2011: Solar firms to be banned from VCT investment

Albion Ventures has welcomed the Government’s decision to crack down on some VCT and EIS providers by placing “feed-in tariff businesses” such as solar companies into the excluded activities list from April 2012.

Managing partner Patrick Reeve says a number of VCTs have been targeting investments that do not fill a policy need. He says: “Essentially, that is a business that could be covered by bank finance and the proof is that the targeted returns they are looking for from their investments is 5-6 per cent, which is far too low.”

Hargreaves Lansdown investment manager Ben Yearsley says: “The easiest way to calm it down was to say you cannot do any of it. Banks will lend if the companies are attractive enough.”

Foresight Group partner Mike Currie says there will be a rush to invest in solar before April 2012. He says: “From a cash-generative perspective, it is a good thing. It will allow us to get to the targets we need to and retain the existing projects, the Solar VCT and EIS. It will get the same quantum of cash over a limited period of time.”

Yearsley believes the Government’s plans to refocus both EIS and VCTs to ensure they are “targeted at genuine risk-capital investments” is aimed at the majority of limited-life VCTs. “It is clearly an area of the market they do not like,” he says.


Santander chief credit officer Iain Laing quits for Nationwide

Santander UK chief credit officer Iain Laing is leaving to join Nationwide as its chief risk officer. Laing, who is expected to start in August, will report to group finance director Mark Rennison and will sit on the group’s executive committee. Santander has appointed Frank Armour as chief credit officer for retail, subject to FSA […]


Boulger slams network panel model

John Charcol senior technical manager Ray Boulger has slammed the network panel model, suggesting that many clients are being denied the best deal. He says brokers should turn clients away if they do not have a suitable lender on their panel. He says: “The only real argument of having a panel is that you could […]

Budget 2011: Mutuals call for more investment freedom

The Association of Financial Mutuals in calling on the Chancellor to allow mutual insurers to invest more widely and to be able to issue bonds. In a letter to George Osborne ahead of Wednesday’s Budget, AFM chief executive Martin Shaw says broader investment rules would enable mutuals to invest in infrastructure and community projects or […]

Northern Rock cuts fixed rates by up to 0.11%

Northern Rock has cut the rates on a selection of two and three-year fixed rate mortgages by up to 0.11 per cent. A two-year 90 per cent loan-to-value fixed rate has been reduced from 5.99 per cent to 5.88 per cent. The lender has also cut a two-year 70 per cent LTV remortgage product at […]


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