Category Archives: Investment

New Cardiff office for insurance group Howden

Howden, the global insurance intermediary group, has announced the opening of a new office in Cardiff, to support businesses with tailored insurance solutions.

Located at Regus House, Malthouse Avenue, in Cardiff Gate Business Park, the new office will build on the success of the recently inaugurated office in Swansea last month and Howden’s acquisition of Watkin Davies in 2020. The addition of a new Cardiff office underscores Howden’s dedication to becoming a prominent force in the commercial broking sector in South and West Wales. The expansion will be spearheaded by Gary Stevens, Regional Managing Director, who has outlined ambitious plans to position Howden as the foremost competitor in the region.

Gary expressed his enthusiasm for the expansion, stating: “I am very pleased to lead the opening of yet another office in Wales. An office in Cardiff was the natural choice for our expansion, and we are confident that by increasing our presence in South Wales by growing our team of advisors to 20+ enabling us to continuing to provide exceptional services to our clients.”

Under Gary’s leadership, the new Cardiff office is set to accommodate a team of six highly skilled brokers, who will work to uphold Howden’s commitment to excellence in risk advisory services, with more brokers set to join in the coming months. The team will play a pivotal role in driving the growth of Howden’s UK Corporate & Commercial pillar throughout 2024.

Gary added: “We’ve already made great headway in attracting a team of highly skilled brokers, and we anticipate significant growth throughout 2024. Our new Cardiff office, working closely with our Swansea operation, will play a key role in cementing our position as a leader in the South and West Wales commercial broking sector.

“We are very excited about our South Wales presence, and also becoming a Principal Partner of The British & Irish Lions for their forthcoming tour of Australia in 2025.”

Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC) unveils 2023 Impact Report: “No shortcuts to creating real social impact”

18 April 2024 – Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC) has published its 2023 Impact Report, titled ” No shortcuts to creating real social impact,” which highlights SASC’s significant progress in the last two years, including 11 new investments totalling over £29 million.

The investments into charities and social enterprises engaged in supported housing have empowered these organisations to deliver more essential services to communities in need.

The report explores the impact of SASC’s investments in detail and includes compelling research findings among borrowers, revealing that 100% acknowledged the positive impact of the investment, with 88% stating their organisational resilience had also improved.

A decade of Impact:

Last year was a milestone year for SASC as it celebrated a decade in business. With a total investment of £167.7 million during this period, SASC remains steadfast in its commitment to helping its borrowers drive meaningful change across the UK.

The report explores the key achievements during this time and lessons learned about the contribution social investment can make when designed specifically for people, communities, and the voluntary sector organisations that support them.

10 Highlights:

  1. 2014: Our CIF and TSIF funds are born with support from Big Society Capital and Social Investment Business.
  2. 2015: Harrogate Skills for Living, our first borrower.
  3. 2016: Giroscope making good things happen in Hull.
  4. 2017: Hull Women’s Network, our lightbulb moment.
  5. 2018: Homes for Good, our first project in Scotland.
  6. 2019: The launch of supported housing fund SASH marks a pivotal moment for SASC.
  7. 2020: Rapid approval of £16.5 million in projects within 9 months to support the COVID response.
  8. 2021: Collaboration on the Gainsborough housing regeneration project with P3, marking the third joint project.
  9. 2022: Introduction of SASH II, building upon the success of SASH I.
  10. 2023: Approval of the first five projects totalling £15 million for SASH II, supporting exemplary, people-first charities.


Scott Greenhalgh, Chair of SASC, said: “Inequality and social need remain deeply entrenched in the UK, but we continue to be impressed by the tenacity and resilience of our voluntary sector borrowers in addressing areas of disadvantage.

We are proud to have supported 54 high performing charitable organisations since 2014 who have delivered significant impact across many sustainable development goal areas.”


Mark Bickford, CEO of SASC, reiterated SASC’s dedication to creating genuine social impact. “Through our SASH funds, we support social sector organisations expand their property portfolios. To date, we have supported 26 voluntary sector organisations, facilitating the housing of over 1,500 vulnerable individuals in 460 properties and we want to build on this. Our funds aim to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities,” he stated.


Lessons learned:

The report highlights that lessons learned by SASC include the importance of listening to borrowers about what they need from an investment and acknowledging there are no shortcuts to creating lasting impact. Fundamentals like genuine social purpose, quality control and appropriate funding structures must always take precedence over rapid, financially driven growth.


Key highlights from the 2023 Impact Report:

  • Approval of 11 new investments, totalling over £29 million, in 2022 and 2023.
  • Continued dedication to addressing inequality and social need through strategic social investment.
  • Total investments of £167.7 million.


You can download the report here 


About Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC):

Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC) provides accessible finance to exceptional charities and social enterprises. Guided by the belief that the right investments empower organisations to tackle society’s most pressing challenges, SASC’s funds offer flexible capital to amplify social impact. Operating as a social enterprise, SASC is dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged individuals across the UK.

For more information about SASC, please visit

£50 million investment programme launched to help transform the Northern Valleys of South East Wales

A new investment programme aimed at catalysing economic growth and social impact in the Northern Valleys was unveiled today (11 April 2024). The Northern Valleys Initiative aims to play a long-term levelling-up role in tackling some of the intra-regional disparities that exist within the Cardiff Capital Region.


The Initiative, totalling £50m, has been set up by Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) and supported by Local Authority Delivery Teams from Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Torfaen. This will support businesses and projects that have the ability to increase prosperity in the region.


Investments will be focused on businesses that offer high-growth potential and the ability to help transform the regional economy.


Operating over a five-year period, the programme will act as a financial catalyst to support businesses that are either based in the Region or that wish to relocate for the long term. Typical grants and investments available for successful applicants will range from (but are not limited to), £100k to £2m.


The programme will concentrate on infrastructure, digital connectivity and tourism sectors delivering a wide range of outcomes including jobs, ecological regeneration and decarbonisation.


The Northern Valleys Initiative aligns with CCR’s strategic ambitions to:


–  tackle economic disparities and boost growth

–  enhance innovation capability and capacity

–  decarbonise our environment by 2050

–  improve our physical and digital infrastructure


Cllr Anthony Hunt, Chair of CCR Committee, said:

“Building on previous work in the region, the Northern Valleys Initiative will deliver an exciting opportunity to stimulate both the private and public sector investment required to generate additional jobs, boost prosperity, foster community resilience and help drive the circular economy in six local authority areas: Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Torfaen”.


Welsh Secretary David TC Davies said:

“It’s fantastic news that this fund, backed by the UK Government, is going to help transform businesses in this area.


“We are focused on growing the economy of Wales, creating jobs and spreading prosperity, and investments like this are invaluable in making this aim a reality.”

ACCA welcome UK/Australia audit recognition deal as step to driving audit quality

  • The deal between UK and Australian audit bodies allows professionally qualified auditors to more easily work in either country.
  • With talent in short supply, both countries’ regulators recognise audit professionals should face no boundaries in taking their work overseas. 


ACCA has welcomed the mutual recognition agreement between UK and Australian audit authorities. At a time of a talent shortage, the deal should make it easier for auditors, including ACCA members, to work between both countries.


The agreement between the UK’s Financial Reporting Council and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) allows auditors who have obtained professional audit qualifications as a statutory auditor in the UK or Australia to more easily apply for recognition of their qualification and audit rights in the other nation.


Maggie McGhee, executive director for strategy and governance at ACCA, said: “ACCA welcomes the UK and Australian audit authorities agreeing mutual recognition of audit qualifications.


“Over time this Memorandum of Understanding on Reciprocal Arrangements (MOURA) should increase the supply of high quality auditors for both economies. This is important at a time when audit talent globally is increasingly in short supply. This will in turn support the continued efforts from the respective regulators of the two countries to drive high quality audit in the public interest.”


ACCA has discussed the issue of audit talent scarcity in its recent report Attract, engage, retain: Insights and recommendations for audit talent success, published the day before the UK/Australia agreement was announced.


Simon Grant, CA ANZ group executive advocacy and international development, said: “The ability to be recognised and work overseas in a truly global profession is a major drawcard for a career in audit, and this agreement provides greater clarity and confidence for auditors moving between Australia and the UK.


“Australia is one of the first countries to be recognised under the UK FRC’s renewed approach on mutual recognition, which alongside New Zealand, is a testament to our close ties and shared history.”


Mike Suffield, ACCA’s director, policy and insights, said: “This builds on the professional ties between the two countries and helps embed the value of the strategic alliance between ACCA and Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand which works to increase the flow of qualified accountants, including auditors, between the two countries.”


See the FRC/ASIC announcement.

Kilsby Williams continues to grow with new appointments

Tax and accountancy specialist Kilsby Williams has strengthened its business services and tax teams as the Newport-based firm continues to grow.

Ken Vargis has been appointed as a manager in Kilsby Williams’ business services team. An assurance professional, Ken will be applying his significant auditing expertise to support the firm’s varied client portfolio.

Ken said: “I am elated to be joining Kilsby Williams at such a pivotal point in its growth. I am looking forward to working with new clients, and adding value to their business by providing robust services.”

Joining Ken in the business services team is Hannah Griffiths, a Swansea University accounting and finance graduate.

In her role as business services assistant, Hannah will be involved in the preparation of accounts for a number of clients and assisting with audits, while working towards the ACA qualification to become a chartered accountant and progress further in the firm.

In the tax team, Cardiff University graduate Luis McCarthy has been appointed as a trainee. He will support the team with the preparation of corporation and personal tax returns and will study towards the ATT and CTA exams to become a chartered tax advisor.

Ataf Salim, partner at Kilsby Williams, said: “We are focused on attracting the best accountancy and tax talent at every stage of their careers and are pleased to share the news of our latest appointments ranging from trainee to managerial level.

“As the largest independent firm in the region, it is exciting to grow even further and we know that Ken, Hannah and Luis’ work will strengthen our services.”

Established in 1991, Kilsby Williams works with clients from across south Wales, the Midlands and London, ranging from sole traders to companies in international quoted groups.

£15 billion of investment opportunities in Cardiff Capital Region showcased at largest property exhibition in the world

INVESTMENT opportunities in Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) worth £15 billion are being showcased at MIPIM – the largest property exhibition in the world.


A team from CCR and its ten councils are promoting South East Wales and its investment opportunities at the event in Cannes, France from March 12 to 14.


Considered one of the leading global real estate events, ‘Marche International des Professionals d’Immobilier’ (MIPIM) attracts more than 26,000 participants each year, including 5,000 investors, 4,800 developers, and 500 journalists.


It has become a prominent event in the property and asset investment world, with representatives coming together for networking, learning, and showcasing the skills and potential of their regions.


A number of UK regions and major cities also attend the event at MIPIM, so competition for attracting and securing investment is high.


The CCR team is holding a series of events across the week, highlighting its investment opportunities, commitment to sustainable development, and its communities.


The £15bn worth of investment opportunities include:

  • Aberthaw Power Station eco-park
  • Bridgend town centre
  • The Northern Gateway initiative
  • Blaenau Gwent Tech Valleys project
  • Cardiff Parkway
  • Caerphilly Hotel and Leisure Park
  • St Modwen Park, Newport



Further details of the opportunities can be found here:


Among the team attending MIPIM this week and welcoming guests to the CCR exhibition stand is CCR Ambassador Dan Biggar, former Wales and British Lions rugby player, and now playing for Toulon in the south of France.


Kellie Beirne, Chief Executive Officer of CCR, said: “We need to sell our region’s competitive strengths on a global stage, and seek out the investors, backers and markets that like our offer.


“With its strategic location, thriving economy, and ambitious development projects, CCR offers investors a compelling opportunity to be part of its growth story.”


Kellie said Cardiff Capital Region had demonstrated economic resilience in recent times, with sustained growth across key sectors such as finance, technology and life sciences.


Attendees at MIPIM from CCR include local authority leaders Councillor Anthony Hunt (Torfaen County Borough Council), Cllr Geraint Thomas (Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council), and Cllr John Morgan, (Cabinet Member for places and regeneration, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council).


Councillor Anthony Hunt, leader of CCR Cabinet which comprises the leaders of the 10 local authority partners of CCR, said: “This week presents a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase Cardiff Capital Region to a global audience at a renowned industry event.


“We look forward to being ambassadors for the Region and we will be working hard to ensure that our attendance will bring tangible benefits for all.


“With our universities, research institutions, and tech start-ups, CCR is proving a hub for entrepreneurship and innovation.


“Our developing technology sector, in particular, is attracting attention from investors seeking opportunities in areas such as digital innovation, cybersecurity, and renewable energy.”

Social and Sustainable Capital invests over £3 million in St Martin of Tours to expand supported living services for adults with mental health needs

Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC), a leading social investment firm dedicated to financing ‘extraordinary’ charities and social enterprises, has committed £3.2 million from its Social and Sustainable Housing Fund (SASH II) to St Martin of Tours, a respected London housing association. This investment will enhance and expand the organisation’s supported living accommodation for adults facing complex mental health needs in Bromley and Streatham, enabling St Martin’s expansion plans across London.

With over 40 years of experience, St Martin of Tours specialises in care homes and supported-living services for adults dealing with enduring mental-health challenges. Providing tailored mental healthcare and supported accommodation services, the charity’s highly trained and dedicated staff teams work in partnership with local care teams to assist residents in improving their quality of life and transitioning towards independent living in the community.

The investment includes funding for the acquisition and refurbishment of Oakwood House, a 15-bed supported living service in Bromley, which will become St Martin’s flagship accommodation. At Oakwood House, the charity will deliver personalised support, aiding further recovery, optimising medication, providing psychosocial interventions, and assisting residents to develop the skills needed to move to independent living.

Additional funding will support organisation-wide initiatives, including a transformation plan, improving accommodation standards across the charity’s housing portfolio and contributing to ongoing financial resilience.

Paul Hardisty, Chief Executive Officer of St Martin of Tours, said, “The investment from SASC will be transformative for our organisation, enabling us to expand our accommodation and enhance our services to meet rising demand. Our mission is to be the housing provider of choice across London for individuals recovering from complex mental health illnesses. Through our tailored mental healthcare and supported accommodation services, we want to empower residents to transition towards independent living in the community. This investment allows us to create an additional 15 much needed bedspaces.

Mark Bickford, CEO of SASC, commented, “St Martin of Tours’ mission aligns perfectly with SASC’s commitment to supporting initiatives that have a tangible impact on society. With our investment, they will be able to provide decent, safe, and stable housing for individuals with complex mental health needs, contributing significantly to their journey towards recovery and independence.”

For more information about St Martin of Tours, please visit: St Martin of Tours

To learn more about SASC, please visit: Social and Sustainable Capital

Fewer than a third of women feel confident about investing: HSBC UK

HSBC UK has unveiled research shedding light on the differences in financial attitudes and behaviours between men and women, particularly in the realms of saving and investing.

The study, conducted by HSBC UK, unveils concerning statistics, with two in three women (69%) admitting to lacking confidence when it comes to investing money. One in four women (27%) abstain from investing altogether due to a perceived lack of knowledge in the field.

Two in five people in the UK invest but around two thirds (67%) of women don’t invest their money, compared to 56% of men. In fact, 3.3 million fewer women hold investments in the UK compared to men – a population three times the size of Birmingham.

The main reasons include not having enough money (45%), limited knowledge on investing (27%) and thinking it is too risky (19%). Two thirds (60%) of women believe they will lose out on money if they invest.

Recognising the urgency of addressing this confidence gap, HSBC UK has launched a series of ‘inspiring money confidence’ webinars, tailored to empower women to enhance their financial wellbeing. These webinars, open to both customers and non-customers, aim to equip women with the knowledge and confidence needed to navigate the complex landscape of personal finance effectively.

Rebecca Owers, Director of Wealth Distribution at HSBC UK, underscores the importance of financial education in empowering women to seize control of their financial futures.

“Women are facing significant barriers when it comes to money. We are living longer but can earn less than our male counterparts. We take more career breaks, but we need to work an extra 19 years to retire on the same pension savings as a man.

“We need to make our money work harder, so it’s important to consider options like investing. Financial education is key here – by talking openly about money and learning the different options available, women can gain the confidence needed to take control of their financial futures.”

Unstoppable Electric – Why the EV Market Is Predicted to Boom in the UK – and why smart investors will be looking for opportunities

The UK electric vehicle (EV) market has seen significant growth in recent years, with a marked increase in the number of electric cars and vans on the roads.

As of the end of January 2024, there are approximately 1,000,000 fully electric cars and around 600,000 plug-in hybrids in the UK. In 2023, there was an 18% growth in the registration of battery-electric cars compared to the previous year, and the total number of plug-in cars (battery-electric and plug-in hybrids) registered showed a 41% increase from 2022.

Strong UK Position

Overall, the UK’s position in the global EV market is strong, with the country ranked as the 5th best-prepared nation for the EV transition out of the world’s top 20 markets. This ranking reflects the UK’s robust demand for new EVs, which is encouraging more consumers and businesses to adopt electric vehicles.

New laws requiring car and van makers to sell a minimum percentage of zero-emission vehicles have come into force in Britain on 3 January 2024.

The Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate stipulates that electric vehicles (EVs) must constitute 22% of new car sales in 2024, increasing to 28% in 2025, reaching 52% in 2028, and a substantial 80% being purely electric by 2030. Moreover, by the year 2035, the mandate mandates that 100% of newly sold vehicles must be emission-free.

The transition to electric vehicles is well underway, and regulations have been implemented to facilitate this shift.

Rising and Rising EV Sales

The EV sales in the UK made up over half of the vehicle sales during the first quarter of 2023, demonstrating the increasing preference for electric and hybrid vehicles over traditional internal combustion engine vehicles.

The growth in the UK EV market is part of a global trend towards electric mobility, with significant advancements in technology and supportive government policies fuelling the market’s expansion.

In terms of electric vans, there has been a notable increase in registrations, with more than 56,000 electric vans in the UK as of January 2024. The number of electric vans sold in the UK saw a significant uptick last year, thanks in part to the increased availability of new models, expanding the choices available to consumers.

The need for more chargers

A transformative shift is occurring in how we power our vehicles. Charging an electric vehicle introduces a new paradigm where the “petrol station” is essentially a car park or driveway.

The opportunities for growth of EV sales are clear – however, there are challenges that need to be addressed to sustain this growth, not least the rapid deployment of charging infrastructure to meet demand – which is currently far short of what is needed already, both at home and on the road.

Think about where you fuel your car currently – and then think about solutions for EVs that focus only on Motorway Service Stations.  The point is, nobody wants to drive too far to top up – the companies that get charging right could benefit from lots of repeat business too.

The opportunity to make money in the sector is likely to be there for the taking, and we can expect to see massive opportunities both for investors who back it and for retailers, restaurants and consumer outlets that provide it for their customers.

New charging companies like Go Zero are already hitting the market strong, with their ‘Go Zero’ models for home and local businesses proving popular, delivering both a healthy return for investors and a high degree of consumer satisfaction.

The market for at-home charging is naturally in demand, but so is the need for charging on the go – and that’s where canny local businesses can tap into it.  Adding charging to your restaurant, gym or hotel car park will be appreciated by locals – but it also gives your customers a new reason to visit again.  Repeat business at it’s best, it’s a win/win.  Likewise, for employers who are struggling to find the right talent, getting EV charging at work will become a valuable benefit and a notable point of difference in an increasingly competitive market.

The demand for EV charging infrastructure is already there and the whole EV market depends on it.  It’s a great opportunity, the right time and the right product.  The only question is, will your business be part of the success story?

To learn more, click here.



Mordor Intelligence’s report on the UK Electric Vehicle Market

IMARC Group’s analysis of the Electric Vehicle Market.

EY report on the UK’s ranking in the global EV market

PwC research on EV sales in the UK

Zapmap’s statistics on the number of electric vehicles in the UK


Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC) invests £3.5 Million in Caring for Communities and People (CCP) to expand Independent Living Services

Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC) is pleased to announce an investment of £3.5 million from its Social and Sustainable Housing Fund II (SASH II) into Caring for Communities and People (CCP), a leading South West-based charity, to facilitate the expansion of their Independent Living Services for vulnerable young adults leaving the care system. This investment is SASC’s second partnership with CCP, following an initial Community Investment Fund (CIF) loan in 2020.

CCP provides vital support, accommodation and training and education to these vulnerable young individuals. The charity’s staff play a pivotal role as support workers offering crucial life skills, education, training, and support to aid the seamless transition of young individuals to independent living. With 253 units of supported housing across the Southwest, CCP is addressing the increasing demand for accommodation for young people leaving care.

This new loan will enable CCP to acquire and refurbish six properties, which will provide decent, safe, and stable housing and dedicated support for 18 vulnerable young people.  The investment will also contribute to CCP’s long-term sustainability by establishing a property portfolio that guarantees tenancy security and high-quality accommodation.

Cordell Ray, Chief Executive of CCP, expressed, “Social investment has been transformational for CCP. It has not only reshaped our business model but also enabled us to expand our service into different regions and invest in high-quality homes, freeing us from dependence on private landlords. Nevertheless, the pressing need for safe, quality homes for young adults transitioning from the care system remains. By expanding our Independent Living Service, we aim to create a positive impact on the lives of those grappling with the care system, homelessness, and financial difficulties, helping them develop independence and prepare for adulthood.”

Mark Bickford, Chief Executive of SASC, commented, “CCP is a leading social care provider in the Southwest, creating meaningful change in the lives of children, young people, families, and vulnerable adults. Through this second investment, we are delighted to empower them to broaden their critical work, expanding the number of young adults who can experience the benefits of stable, secure, and supported accommodation while making their way out of the care system.”

For more information on SASC visit: