EQ launches VCT service to soften pension tax relief blow

John Spiers

Boutique wealth manager EQ Investors has launched a specialist venture capital trust service ahead of looming changes on pensions tax relief.

The wealth management firm headed by Bestinvest founder John Spiers will offer analysis of EQ’s ‘top picks’ including provider and product reviews.

The boutique has also launched a guide providing details on the basics of VCTs – what they are, how they work, the benefits and risks involved, and how to invest.

Spiers says with the future looking bleak for pensions tax relief experienced investors will be seeking out alternative tax-efficient vehicles.

He says: We expect demand for VCTs to outstrip supply for the foreseeable future as the number of opportunities for tax-efficient investing by higher rate taxpayers reduces.”

Through EQ, investors can access listings of all the offers available with amounts raised and recommendations, the research team’s qualitative and quantitative review of each individual share offer, discounts on standard charges, and downloadable application forms.

Senior analyst Sophie Muller joined the business last year and will lead the research around VCTs.

She says: “In-depth interviews with VCT management teams are conducted at least annually.

“We assess the length of relevant management experience, as well as the quality, structure and depth of resources within the team.

“In addition to this, we require evidence of the manager’s commitment to both the firm and the VCT.”

He says: “With the rumoured changes to pension tax relief, experienced investors will be looking for complementary options to supplement their investment portfolios.”

“As such, we aim to provide clear, current and reliable information to ensure our investors get access to the best opportunities,” he adds.

Spiers set up EQ in 2014, having founded Bestinvest in 1986. Under his stewardship it grew to service more than 50,000 clients before being acquired by 3i in 2007.