Hargreave Hale VCTs to retain focus on tech and life sciences Hargreave Hale VCTs to retain focus on tech and life sciences

Oliver Bedford, who runs the Hargreave Hale AIM VCT portfolio told What Investment that the sector exposures of the funds are unlikely to change dramatically as £20 million of new capital is raised.

 Hargreave Hale VCTs to retain focus on tech and life sciences

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Bedford noted that while there was volatility aplenty in 2016 in the UK stockmarket, which VCTs were able to make 21 investments, which is in line with long-term averages.
He noted that the funds tend to have a lot of exposure to technology, ‘partly because there are a lot of tech companies at the smaller end of the UK market, and indeed lots of very fine tech companies are on the UK market.’
The VCTs are also invested in the life sciences sector, where he commented that, ‘this is not always a sector that is fashionable but it is a sector in which we have a lot of experience.’
The AIM VCTs have the capacity to invest 15 per cent of the funds’ assets in unlisted companies, Bedford told What Investment that the funds presently have around 10 per cent of the capital deployed in unlisted companies, and that this could grow.
He said, ‘We look at the AIM-listed and unquoted companies in the same way. The funds are AIM VCTs so of course that is central, but we wouldn’t want to miss out on opportunities just because the companies in question don’t happen to have a listing. We have good contacts amongst brokers, and often, the brokers will know about a company that is in the pre-IPO stage. Many of those companies might be a few years away from coming to market, but need capital now and represent an opportunity.’
The Hargreave Hale AIM VCT 1 has returned 69 per cent over the past five years and has a current yield of 5.67 per cent. The trust trades at a discount to its net assets of 9.4 per cent.
The £20 million of fresh capital being raised will be deployed into both of the VCTs with investors able to choose how their investment is split.

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