Enterprise Investment Schemes  

Foresight launches EIS fund with Williams Formula One

Foresight launches EIS fund with Williams Formula One

Investment manager Foresight has teamed up with Williams Advanced Engineering, a division of Williams Formula One Limited, to launch an enterprise investment scheme.

The Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund will invest in "early stage UK SMEs with strong intellectual property in their own specialist fields", all of which will qualify for relief under the UK government's EIS criteria.

The fund, which is expected to launch later this month, is aiming to raise £20m to invest in at least 10 companies, investing a maximum of £2m per company. 

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That £20m will add to Foresight's existing £550m assets under management, invested through a number of venture capital trusts (VCTs) and EISs.

Foresight chairman Bernard Fairman said the announcement came after 18 months of "in depth discussions and planning". 

"The unique combination of Williams and Foresight is expected to result in a diversified investment base of no fewer than 10 companies revolutionising their respective markets and delivering strong returns to investors,” he said. 

He added that the fund would be only be accessible through an adviser.

"The reason we are insisting it goes through advisory channel is it could get misused if you don't get full financial advice on it," he said.

He added: "We have a team of 18 who work on intermediary sales - they cover the whole of the UK - it is a purely UK focused product. We are targeting one man bands all the way up to big banks and big wealth advisory businesses."

Craig Wilson, managing director of Williams Advanced Engineering, said he was "very excited" to be working with Foresight. 

"We will be using our Formula One platform and technical expertise to assist those portfolio companies with disruptive technologies selected by Foresight, to help them transform their industries.”

The government's enterprise investment scheme is designed to help smaller, higher-risk trading companies to raise finance by offering tax relief to investors who buy new shares in those companies.

Relief is paid at a rate of 30 per cent of the cost of the shares, and set against the investor's income tax liability for the year in which the investment was made.

james.fernyhough@ft.com