Release of ex-military VCT gets IFA backing

Paul Blair of Kent-based advisory firm Armed Forces Financial Services said men and women who leave the services were often left with little or no financial preparation or knowledge.

The former army officer launched the firm in 2007 with a remit of advising former and serving service people. He said: “The army is fantastic for looking after the affairs of people, but the reality is that these men and women live in a bubble.

“Once they are out of the services, that support is no longer there. The forces do their best with briefings as part of educational and resettlement plans, but they are not well attended, so it wouldn’t hurt if there were more advice providers, in addition to more specific products and funding.”

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Mr Blair’s comments followed the launch of fund manager Time Investments’s venture capital trust, the Time: Reboot VCT, which invests exclusively in businesses run by ex-military personnel.

The trust aims to raise up to £20m before the end of April 2014, with a minimum investment of £3,000, target growth in excess of 70 per cent over its first five years, and a yearly internal rate of return of 11.4 per cent.

It invests in successful businesses run by commercially proven ex-military entrepreneurs, and has an annual management fee of 2.15 per cent.

Mr Blair said: “This type of product is fantastic. In my experience it can be particularly difficult to obtain finance after leaving the forces, so anything like this which helps with funding is a good thing.”

In September, Gordon Ede, partner of Hampshire-based adviser and mortgage broker GDC Associates, claimed that conditions imposed by Nationwide on a group of Gurkha soldiers were stopping them from obtaining financial services and was disproportionate compared to civilian customers. A spokesman for Nationwide said it made mortgage offers on “a case-by-case basis”, taking affordability and credit scoring into consideration.