Venture Capital Trusts

Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) were created in 1995 to boost investment in smaller unquoted companies, there is now a good length of track record with a wide disparity in returns. The tax incentives are generous and of particular interest for investors liable to higher rates of Income Tax who are seeking an income.

Time to act now on VCTs

Uncertainty around the continuation of UK tax reliefs for Venture Capital Trusts has driven several funds to announce large fundraises early this year. In her latest blog post, Sophie Kennedy, EQ Head of Research, explains what is driving these changes and why offers may close earlier than usual in 2017.

Who are VCTs designed for?

VCTs are not a suitable option for everyone, but can be appropriate for experienced investors who are willing to take on a degree of risk within a diversified portfolio. We consider them to be a complementary option for investors who:

  • are Higher Rate (40%) or Additional Rate (45%) Income Tax payers
  • wish to supplement their portfolio having fully contributed to both their pension and ISA
  • currently own a diversified portfolio and are willing to invest in an inherently risky asset class, with the added incentive of tax breaks
  • are comfortable with a long holding period
  • are resident in the UK

EQ has put together an introductory guide to Venture Capital Trusts which is available to download for free:

Selected VCT offers

The following Venture Capital Trusts are open for investment:
* Includes any discount offered by the promoter.
Name EQ review Offer type Closing dates Raised / sought Min. investment EQ discount*
Albion VCT Top-up 5 April 2018
24 Aug 2018
£10.3m / £32.0m £6,000 New Investor 0.5% (pre-31 Oct)
Existing Investor 1.0% (pre-31 Oct)
View offer
Five of the six Albion VCTs available within this top-up offer, investing in asset-backed and growth opportunities across a range of sectors.
Amati VCT 1&2 Top-up 4 April 2018
31 August 2018
£3.7m / £20.0m £4,000 2.0% View offer
The Amati VCTs invest in both high growth potential and mature companies that are listed, or expected to list, on the AIM market.
Baronsmead VCTs Top-up 15 November 2017 £41.6m / £45.0m £3,000 0% View offer
Two Baronsmead VCTs available within this top-up offer, investing in established qualifying companies across a range of sectors.
Calculus VCT Top-up 3 April 2018
31 July 2018
£0.1m / £5.0m £5,000 New Investor: 2.85%
Existing Investor: 3.35%
View offer
Calculus VCT is raising funds, investing in mature and profitable companies.
Downing ONE VCT Top-up 5 April 2018
30 April 2018
£0.3m / £30.0m £5,000 3.0% (pre-3pm on 31 Oct)
2.5% (pre-3pm on 28 Feb)
2.0% (thereafter)
View offer
Downing ONE VCT offers investors access to a mature and diversified portfolio of asset-backed, renewable energy and AIM listed companies.
Foresight 4 VCT Top-up 5 April 2018
30 April 2018
£4.6m / £50.0m £3,000 New Investor 4.0% (pre-30 Nov)
Existing Investor 4.5% (pre-30 Nov)
View offer
Foresight 4 VCT is a generalist VCT, investing across a broad range of sectors. It has recently merged with Foresight 3 VCT.
Hargreave Hale AIM VCT 2 Top-up 5 April 2018 £2.0m / £7.5m £5,000 2% (pre-Nov 17)
1% (thereafter)
View offer
The Hargreave Hale AIM VCT 2 predominantly invest in AIM listed stocks, typically in secondary issues rather than IPO opportunities.
Maven Income & Growth VCT 3 & 4 Top-up 3 April 2018
20 April 2018
£10.2m / £40.0m £5,000 New Investors 4.0% (pre-2 Feb)
Existing investors 3.75% (pre-2 Feb)
View offer
Two generalist VCTs following a relatively more conservative investment approach, focused on established companies.
Mobeus VCTs Top-up 4 April 2018 £55.5m / £80.0m £6,000 0.75% View offer
Four established VCTs, predominantly invested in management buyouts (MBOs) of established profitable companies.
Octopus Titan VCT Top-up 5 April 2016
22 August 2017
£23.0m / £200.0m £3,000 New Investor 4.5% (pre-14 Nov)
Existing Investor 5.5% (pre-14 Nov)
View offer
A large private equity VCT investing in early stage companies, with a legacy bias to the technology sector.
Puma VCT 13 New VCT 5 April 2018 £2.0m / £45.0m £5,000 1% View offer
A new limited life VCT managed by an experienced team with a focus on capital preservation.
Unicorn AIM VCT Top-up 26 September 2017 £29.2m / £50.0m £2,000 New Investor 3.0%
Existing Investor 3.0%
View offer
Unicorn AIM VCT is the largest single AIM VCT and offers investors exposure to a mature and established portfolio of companies listed on AIM.

How to invest

If you want to benefit from 30% initial tax relief you must subscribe for new VCT shares via a public offer. You can download the prospectus and application forms using the links above.

Important Information

The information set out above is included for information purposes only and is not an offer or an invitation to buy or sell or a solicitation of an offer or invitation to buy or sell or enter into any agreement with respect to any security, product, service or investment. Any opinions expressed do not constitute investment advice and independent advice should be sought where appropriate. All information is current as of the date of publication, subject to change without notice, and may become outdated over time. Links to third party sites or pages are for information purposes only and such sites and pages are not part of this website or the responsibility of EQ Investors Limited and have not have been reviewed or verified by EQ Investors Limited. Following links to or from any other sites or pages shall be at your own risk. Please note that tax rates and bases can change without notice.

VCTs should be considered to be high risk investments suitable only for experienced investors who can afford to incur losses.