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Are UK Small Caps about to get a Boost?

13:49, 21st November 2023
Justin Waite
Taking Stock

Taking Stock on Tuesday 21st November 2023

Taking Stock: Is a look at today's top business news & investment views plus we cover the winners, losers, the most read company news & the most followed. Today this includes:

Are UK Small Caps about to get a Boost?

Britain to launch growth funds to attract pension pot cash

The British Business Bank (BBB) will set up a new fund for pension schemes and asset managers to invest in growth companies, part of wider reforms to unlock savers' cash to boost the economy, the UK finance ministry said on Tuesday.

Britain wants to encourage pension schemes to switch from a heavy focus on bonds and global blue chips to putting a portion of their cash in UK growth companies, a step it says would help improve returns for investors.

The move also aims to build up a stronger pipeline of potential company listings as the London Stock Exchange faces tougher competition from New York and, since Brexit, European Union financial centres.

UK Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt is due on Wednesday to present a budget that includes measures to implement his 'Mansion House Compact' announced in July.

Under the compact, 10 companies have voluntarily committed to investing 5% of their pension funds in small listed companies and unlisted growth companies by 2030.

The ministry said the measures Hunt will unveil on Wednesday will help invest the 'first tranche' of the 75 billion pounds made available through the Mansion House reforms.

The BBB will invest 250 million pounds to seed two investment vehicles under the UK's Long-term Investment for Technology and Science (LIFTS) initiative. Both will also be accessible to pension schemes and could attract over a billion pounds in total private capital, the ministry said.

The separate new growth fund at the BBB, a state-backed development bank, will draw on a permanent capital base of over 7 billion pounds, the BBB said in a statement.

"The Bank will now work closely with industry on the design of the investment vehicle before announcing further details in due course," the BBB said.

There will also be at least 50 million pounds of extra funding for the BBB's "Future Fund: Breakthrough" programme that provides direct investment to support promising innovative UK firms.

"Tomorrow’s Autumn Statement will be a huge step towards delivering our Mansion House Reforms and unleashing the full potential of our pensions industry," Hunt said in a statement.

(Click here to read more)

Companies Mentioned, on Taking Stock, today:

04:35 & 10:05 & 19:00 XP Factory #XPF 
06:25 Quantum Blockchain #QBT 
07:50 & 23:35 Silver Bullet Data #SBDS 
09:25 Ashtead Technology #AT.
11:10 & 13:20 Intercede #IGP 
11:58 Asos #ASC 
13:00 Warpaint #W7L
19:20 Angling Direct #ANG 
20:00 Trufin #TRU 
21:05 Poolbeg Pharma #POLB 
22:27 Fintel #FNTL 
23:20 Wildcat Petroleum #WCAT 
23:45 Good Energy #GOOD 
24:43 Ilika #IKA 
25:26 UK Oil & Gas #UKOG 
26:45 Serica Energy #SQZ 
27:10 Avon Protection #AVON 
29:50 Calnex Solutions #CLX 
31:37 RUA Life Sciences #RUA 
31:45 Videndum #VID 
33:43 Braemar Shipping #BMS 
34:35 Light Science Technologies #LST 
36:05 AssetCo #ASTO 


Government borrowing rises ahead of Autumn Statement

Government borrowing in October was higher than expected at £14.9bn, largely pushed up by higher benefit payments, official figures show.

But the figures showed a smaller-than-expected deficit across the first half of the financial year.

This was due to higher tax receipts in previous months, reflecting higher wages and inflation.

It comes as speculation mounts there could be tax cuts in the chancellor's Autumn Statement on Wednesday.

Borrowing was up £4.4bn from a year earlier and the second highest figure for October, behind only 2020's figure when spending was affected by the pandemic.

The borrowing figure - the difference between spending and tax income - was also higher than the £13.7bn forecast by the UK's independent fiscal watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

(Click here to read more)

Retailers hit back after study finds just 2% of Black Friday offers were at their cheapest price

According to research by the consumer group Which? - just 2% of discounted Black Friday offers were at their cheapest price on the day of the sales event last year.

It warned shoppers to compare prices as retailers responded by largely dismissing the findings, pointing to the fact chains do not typically promise to make Black Friday deals their cheapest of the year.

(Click here to read more)


Disclaimer & Declaration of Interest

The information, investment views and recommendations in this article are provided for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article should be construed as a solicitation to buy or sell any financial product relating to any companies under discussion or to engage in or refrain from doing so or engaging in any other transaction. Any opinions or comments are made to the best of the knowledge and belief of the writer but no responsibility is accepted for actions based on such opinions or comments. Vox Markets may receive payment from companies mentioned for enhanced profiling or publication presence. The writer may or may not hold investments in the companies under discussion.