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Companies line up to offer VCTs before tax year ends

Matrix, Pinder Fry & Benj amin and LeggMason Inves tors are all aiming to offer new venture capital trusts before the end of the tax year.

Matrix is set to launch a new healthcare VCT on February 12, subject to stockmarket approval, and wants to raise £20m.

LeggMason is looking to take its first steps into the VCT market with an Aim VCT in March.

The fund will be managed by star smaller companies fund manager John Johnston, who was recruited from Mur ray Johnstone last year.

Legg Mason says it wants to straddle tax years with its fund rather than try to sell out in a few weeks.

Pinder Fry & Benjamin already has three VCTs on offer and is looking at the possibility of offering two more funds before the start of April.

The launches will complete the biggest-ever year for VCTs following on from last year&#39s record-breaking figure.

At the end of last tax year, the VCT industry totalled just under £1bn.

If all VCTs sell out this year, the industry will amount to about half as much again.

Last year, all VCTs were sold out and many were oversubscribed by April. However, some pundits believe the industry has overcompensated this year.

Hargreaves Lansdown inv estment manager Ben Years ley says: “In some cases, this year, the VCTs on offer look like me-too VCTs. They are only being launched for the sake of launching the trust with the perceived knowledge that it will probably sell out due to last year&#39s popularity.”


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