The Chiene + Tait Entrepreneurial Tax Team was named as winner of the UK’s Best EIS/SEIS Tax Adviser at this year’s EISA (Enterprise Investment Scheme Association) Awards. The firm came out top in a category with an impressive standard of submissions which the awards judges described as demonstrating ‘extensive and committed support for their clients, as well as support for entrepreneurism and diversity in the industry.’
Neil Norman, the Head of C+T’s Entrepreneurial Tax Team, said: “The EISA award is deserved recognition for the exceptional work of the team in what has been a phenomenal year. We’re now seeing a number of new and existing entrepreneur-led companies ramping up for growth as we emerge from the pandemic and see the economy beginning to flourish.
“It’s great to welcome our new colleagues as we continue to build our team and extend the range of support to our growing client base across the UK and other parts of the global business community.”
The Entrepreneurial Tax Team has taken on five new recruits to help service major growth over the last quarter. The new colleagues include Senior Associates, Olivia Reilly and Romana Mohammed; and Associates Amber Young and Jak Henderson who bolster the size of the team, led by C+T Partner Neil Norman, to 14 people.
During 2021, the team has taken on 40 new clients based in six countries and operating across a range of sectors including technology, life sciences and food & drink. Most of these are seeking advice on Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS)-qualifying investment or grant share options for employees based in the UK. The team also supports aspirational start-up businesses and entrepreneur-led companies on Seed Enterprise Investment Schemes (SEIS), R&D tax relief and company disposals.
In this new blog post, Neil Norman Entrepreneurial Tax Partner at Chiene + Tait gives an overview of the current position of the Scottish investment market and the impact Covid-19 has had on investments.
Trends and changes
Covid-19 has triggered major changes in the Scottish investment market. We have seen many companies seeking funding, but fewer new investments made. Rather, the observed trend has been for investors to first seek to ensure that their existing portfolio companies continue to be supported. There is also a second trend – many of the investments made into existing investee companies are being tranched. For example, a company seeking £2m follow-on investment, may need to accept that it can receive £750k now and the balance in, perhaps, 6-12 months. This strategy, whilst sometimes frustrating for the recipient, appears sensible as investors seek to mitigate their exposure to the risk of a loss in an uncertain, macro-economic market. Whether the lack of certainty or ‘runway’ will adversely affect the fortunes of the investees remains to be seen, but those companies I have spoken to in this situation seem accepting of the investor’s logic and not overly concerned.
In the early days of lock-down, we noted a significant shift in valuations being offered by some investors. However, anecdotally expressed concerns that this was the start of an era of opportunism appear to have been unfounded. Rather, so long as the investees are able to carry on relatively unabated with their plans to develop their intellectual property, their investors have been supportive with valuations that typically mirror those seen in the pre-Covid world. This is testament to the strength of the Scottish investment market and the integrity of those operating within it.
Support for Entrepreneurs
Support for entrepreneurs in Scotland remains amongst the best in the world; we have the most mature and one the most advanced early-stage investment markets. Since Archangels commenced investing in the early 1990s, there are now over 20 active angel syndicates and many funds operating here. Then, add in the support offered by LINC Scotland to the investor groups (including our EIS Helpdesk), the availability of match funding from the Scottish Investment Bank, the Covid-support measures introduced by the Scottish Government which are widely accepted as being better than the UK Government’s offerings, and the plethora of investment opportunities, many of which have come from world-leading research institutions, and it is clear that Scotland remains an extraordinary location for investment activity.
Author – Neil Norman, Entrepreneurial Tax Partner, Chiene + Tait