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Former Corporate Development Director at Prudential to manage business line for largest UK VCT provider

Octopus Investments (‘Octopus’), one of the UK’s fast-growing fund management businesses with dominant positions in several specialist sectors including smaller company investing, has announced the appointment of Richard Wazacz as Business Line Manager for Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs). Richard, who was formerly Corporate Development Director for UK and Europe at Prudential, joins Octopus as the company undertakes its largest VCT fundraising to date.

With extensive experience from a series of senior strategic and operational management roles across the retail financial services sector, Richard will be responsible for managing and growing the VCT business line. Octopus is the largest provider of VCTs in the UK[1] and has seen interest in the product grow significantly since they were introduced by the government in 1995. Last tax year Octopus saw record levels of inflows into its VCTs, raising 56% more funding than in the previous twelve months.[2] Latest pension reforms combined with increased awareness around the benefits of smaller company investing has created strong demand for the product. Recent figures from HMRC state that investment into VCTs reached its highest levels for eight years in the last tax year, with VCTs raising £440 million from investors in 2013-14, an increase of 10% on the previous tax year.[3]

Simon Rogerson, CEO of Octopus, commented:

“Richard joins us at an exciting time when VCTs are now familiar investment solutions to many advisers and investors. On the cusp of celebrating their 20th birthday they are entering a new age of consideration as proven investment solutions with a strong track record of performance and a critical source of financing for UK smaller companies. We launched our first VCT back in 2002 and since then have grown to become the largest provider in the market. With customer demand for the product stronger than ever and upcoming pension changes driving increased interest in tax efficient investing, we need to ensure we continue to provide the access, service and performance our customers have come to expect from us. Richard brings with him a wealth of experience in strategic management and development across a range of activities within financial services that will be really valuable in helping us build on our success to date as the market leading VCT provider in the UK.”

Prior to becoming Corporate Development Director Richard held a number of roles at Prudential, including that of Chief Operating Officer Continental Europe, a position which saw him establish Prudential’s greenfield life insurance business in Poland. He was previously Customer Services & Operations Director for all UK Private Banking and Wealth Management businesses at Lloyds Banking Group.

Richard Wazacz, Business Line Manager for VCTs at Octopus, commented:

“I am very excited to be joining Octopus at such a busy and transformative time for the industry. Octopus is an innovative company that really wants to make a difference for all its customers. The team has worked hard to establish its position within the VCT market. VCTs are now an established planning tool but there are significant changes to pension legislation coming into play this year which could see VCTs playing a role in more investor portfolios.”

Octopus currently has a range of different VCTs open for investment depending on an investor’s particular planning requirements. These include the Octopus AIM VCTs, which invest in AIM-listed companies, Octopus Titan VCT, which invests in early stage high growth businesses, and Octopus Apollo VCT which invest in established small companies that require growth capital.

-Ends-

 Notes to editors

[1] Source: Association of Investment Companies (October 2014)

[2] Source: Octopus Investments, April 2014

[3] Source: HMRC (September 2014)

Issued by Octopus Investments Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. A VCT is a capital-at-risk product. As such, the value of any investments may fall or rise and you may not get back the full amount invested. Tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each investor and may be subject to change. The availability of tax reliefs also depends on the VCT maintaining qualifying status. VCT shares are likely to have higher volatility and liquidity risk than other types of shares quoted on the London Stock Exchange Official List. No information contained herein should be construed as offering investment or tax advice.

This advertisement is not a prospectus and investors should only subscribe for VCT shares on the basis of information in the relevant prospectus which can be obtained from octopusinvestments.com  when available.