W&F Q2 2023

www.wealthandfinance-news.com Q2 2023&wealth finance i n t e r n a t i o n a l Energy price cap’s trickle effect on inflation and three likely scenarios for UK consumers, according to market experts • End of government energy price cap helps lower inflation, but new Ofgem cap realistically not changing much for households • Experts predict three immediate scenarios, all bleak in the short run • Base rate likely to rise again, but 12-streak hike so far coming to an end

Editor’s Comment Welcome to the Q2 edition of Wealth & Finance International Magazine. As always, with every issue we endeavour to provide fund managers, alongside institutional and private investors with the very latest industry news in the traditional and alternative investment spheres. Six months into 2023, the shift to a digital world is showing no signs of slowing down. A cashless society is on the way to becoming a reality, with millennials and generation z placing great importance on making quick, convenient digital payments. Even older generations have begun exploring the benefits of electronic payments. Thus, providing digital payment options is in the best interests of any organisation. Technology indeed plays a huge part in our lives and so we should be able to make our payments electronically, too. At the same time, it goes without saying how crucial it is that these payments be made safely and securely. In this issue, we feature businesses who make payments easy and flexible, for both payer and payee, whether Lanistar’s payment card and app, or Expend’s spend and expense management platform. These companies are showing the industry how it’s done. Elsewhere, we take a look at iPensions Group, Most Innovative Pensions Support Provider 2023 - North West England, to explore its range of excellent pension options. We also get to know Investment CEO of the Year, Paul Regan of Next Level Holdings, and how his firm delivers stellar returns with a unique insurance based risk neutralising strategy. I hope you find this issue insightful and informative and look forward to welcoming you back again soon. Rebecca Scotland, Editor AI Global Media, Ltd. (AI) takes reasonable measures to ensure the quality of the information on this web site. However, AI will not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, correctness or completeness of any information that is available through this web site. If errors are brought to our attention, we will try to correct them. The information available through the website and our partner publications is for your general information and use and is not intended to address any particular finance or investment requirements. In particular, the information does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by us or any of our partner publications and is not intended to be relied upon by users in making or refraining from making any investment or financial decisions. Appropriate independent advice should be obtained before making any such decision. Any arrangement made between you and any third party named in the site is at your sole risk and responsibility.

4. News: - Blackfinch Property completes its largest loan to date with £20m refinancing deal in East London - Global High-Net-Worth population sees biggest decline in size and wealth for over a decade 6. Next Level Holdings: Best Risk-Managed Investment Specialists 2023 & Investment CEO of the Year 2023: Paul Regan 8. Pensions Group: Powerful Pensions Support Built on Decades of Experience, Delivering Transparency and Control 9. Energy price cap’s trickle effect on inflation and three likely scenarios for UK consumers, according to market experts 10. Expense management app achieves industry first with new service, Expend Card Connect. 12. Isomer Capital defies industry headwinds with an early first close of new €250m fund, Isomer Capital III 13. APPROVED FINANCE GROUP LAUNCHES NEW TAX DIVISION 14. IQ Capital raises $400m to invest in transformative deep tech startups across UK and Europe 16. Gen Z are leading payment landscape shift with cash-reliant nations opting for digital alternatives Contents

Blackfinch Property completes its largest loan to date with £20m refinancing deal in East London Blackfinch Property, a rapidly growing agile lender to the UK property market, has completed its largest loan to date, a £20m refinancing for a mixed portfolio of 54 residential and commercial properties across East London. The 24-month deal from Blackfinch Property will enable the landlord to continue to provide high quality residential and commercial properties to London tenants, with funds also released for further improvement works. All investment opportunities at Blackfinch Property are scored against criteria that will deliver Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) benefits. This loan is structured to incentivise the borrower to improve the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings for the 30% of the properties that were less energy-efficient should the energy saving work be completed in time. During a period of mortgage rate uncertainty, the fixed rates offered under the commercial term loan also provide some certainty for the borrower. Phil Downie, Blackfinch Property investment manager, said: “We’re very pleased to support this experienced landlord in providing the highest quality homes and workplaces for Londoners. This is Blackfinch’s largest loan to date and is backed by top London real estate with the interest fully serviced by the underlying income. The properties already represent some of the best homes in their markets and will be further improved over the loan term by upgrades to their energy efficiencies.” To complete the deal, the Blackfinch in-house legal team created a bespoke approach to its due diligence process that sped up the transaction and saved the borrower fees. Reports on titles were completed for a representative sample of properties, with an insurer providing title insurance for the remaining properties. This customised approach demonstrates the flexible, entrepreneurial and practical approach taken by Blackfinch Property to meet the needs of its borrowers. Blackfinch Property has been enjoying a period of high growth which has seen the launch of new products and the signing of new deals. Their previous largest loan was a £14.8m residential development loan in the South East completed at the end of 2022 and the loan book has increased by 61% over the last year. This is the seventh commercial term loan issued by Blackfinch Property since the new product launched in January 2023, with the first helping to secure the future of a popular restaurant just outside of Birmingham city centre. NEWS

Equity market plunge saw HNWIs lose $3 Trillion in wealth; North America retains top wealth spot, while Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East were the only growth regions Global High-Net-Worth population sees biggest decline in size and wealth for over a decade Capgemini’s World Wealth Report, published today, reveals the global high-net-worth-individual1 (HNWI) population dropped by 3.3% to 21.7 million in 2022, while the value of its wealth decreased by 3.6% to USD 83 trillion. According to the report, this marks the steepest drop in ten years (2013-2022) triggered by geopolitical and macroeconomic uncertainty. North America registered the steepest wealth decline (-7.4%), followed by Europe (-3.2%) and Asia-Pacific (-2.7%). In contrast, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East showed resilience by registering financial growth in 2022 due to strong performances in the oil and gas sectors. ESG investments remain a priority, but wealth managers need more data on impact Despite economic uncertainty, where only 23% of HNWIs declared having generated more returns from ESG-related assets, they still express a continued interest in ESG products with 41% of survey respondents rating investing for ESG impact as a top priority. 63% of HNWIs report they had requested ESG scores for their assets. However, not many wealth management firms see ESG data analysis (52%) and traceability (31%) as a top priority. Of the relationship managers surveyed, 40% said they require more data to understand ESG impact, and nearly one in two said they need more ESG information to engage effectively with clients. Wealth management firms need to fix the misalignment of the relationship manager’s role According to the report, the current lack of digital tools is limiting relationship managers from delivering timely financial advice and value-added expertise. It is also impacting their bottom line. On average, only one in three executives ranked their firm’s endto-end digital maturity as high. Furthermore, 45% said the cost per relationship manager is rising, driven primarily by wealth value chain inefficiencies. The report finds that lagging digital readiness and poor omnichannel platforms increase the relationship managers’ time spent on non-core activities, leaving only a third of their time available for pre-sales efforts and client interaction. The strain is being felt on all sides, with 56% of HNWI respondents saying that value-added services are influencing their selection of a wealth management firm, yet only one-in-two expressed satisfaction with their relationship manager’s capacity to deliver on them. Nearly 31% would likely switch wealth management providers in the next 12 months. The report highlights that to help drive revenue growth and increased client satisfaction, wealth management firms need to arm relationship managers with an integrated one-stop-shop interface and create a superior client experience. For example, a digital workstation is the way forward to enhance productivity and customer engagement, providing relationship managers with the ability to mobilize and orchestrate the right experts at the right moment to serve the client. “Wealth management firms are at a critical inflection point as the macroenvironment is forcing a shift in mindset and business models to drive sustainable revenue growth. Agility and adaptability are going to be key for high-net-worth individuals as their attention gears towards wealth preservation. The industry will need to fortify value, empower relationship managers, and unlock new growth opportunities to remain relevant,” said Nilesh Vaidya, Global Head of Banking and Capital Markets, Capgemini. “Their success will be tied towards solving issues relating to digital immaturity in the wealth value chain.” Unlock growth potential through the ‘affluent’ segment The report also cites that expanding the pool of potential wealth management clients is now an imperative to help drive longterm growth across the industry. The affluent2 segment now presents a new frontier as this population continues to grow in size and financial clout. Regionally, North America (46%) and Asia-Pacific (32%) hold the largest share of global affluents in wealth value and population size. Despite holding nearly USD 27 trillion in assets (almost 32% of total HNWI wealth), 34% of firms are not exploring this segment. Affluents are overwhelmingly (71%) interested in seeking wealth advisory services from their banks in the next 12 months. To keep operational costs low while providing the expertise sought by this segment, technology-enabled customization will be the way forward. Based on the scale and scope of operations, cites the report, wealth management firms can pursue three options to build an affluent customer base: • Leverage the existing wealth management setup by accelerating end-to-end digital transformation • Develop a wealth-as-a-service (WaaS) proposition using thirdparty channels, including retail banks and independent advisors • Build a dedicated platform for wealth services augmented with self-service tools to improve customer management NEWS

Q2 Wealth & Finance Best Risk-Managed Investment Specialists 2023 & Investment CEO of the Year 2023: Paul Regan Meet the Hedge Fund Manager Delivering Stellar Returns with a Unique Insurance Based Risk Neutralizing Strategy. In investing, we know there is no free lunch. With higher returns comes increased risk. But what if you could neutralize some of the variables that create risk in traditional investing? What if timing or pricing the market, or being right about the direction was no longer necessary for a profitable trading strategy? Meet Paul Regan — a man who has created an arbitrage-based strategy that successfully does exactly that. And his innovation goes far beyond successful trading by pairing an actual insurance policy with each investment. We sat down with Paul to learn more about his unique innovation and new line of funds. Doing The Near-Impossible In the investment world, achieving high returns with low risk is akin to finding the Holy Grail. But, Mr. Regan’s past experience illustrates why he has been able to accomplish this seemingly impossible task of providing certain returns in an uncertain world. He’s been hard at work as a financial engineer for decades. Meanwhile, he has beaten the S&P 500 index for the past 10 years as a trader. More Firsts He is the first hedge fund manager who has successfully gained the support of major insurance carriers who are writing policies exclusively for his fund, Next Level Holdings, LLC. These policies enable him to contractually neutralize market and transactional risk for his investors. This allows the fund to ensure a consistent 24% annual return to those investors who are lucky enough to gain entry into one of his exclusive hedge funds. And that phenomenal yearly return? Guaranteed by the insurers. How Exactly Did He Accomplish This? In today’s challenging market, we find ourselves in complete awe of this accomplishment. Somehow Mr. Regan has brilliantly engineered an arbitrage-based fixed-income product. This has been attempted previously without success. What has Paul Regan done differently? We asked him directly so we could find out. Q. First off, Paul, we understand this is an arbitrage-based strategy. Can you explain arbitrage trading for us? Regan: Of course. Arbitrage is a form of trading in which traders exploit price discrepancies between the same investments in different markets. Arbitrageurs buy in one market while simultaneously selling an equivalent size in a different but related market. They do this to take advantage of price divergences between the two. Sometimes, products that are effectively the same thing, trade in different places or slightly different forms. For example, some large companies are listed on more than one stock exchange. Theoretically, as the shares on each stock exchange belong to the same company, they should be priced equally. However, the flow of information to all parts of the world is not instantaneous. Furthermore, markets do not operate with complete efficiency. When both stock exchanges are open, the share price may differ between them. The first person to notice the price difference could buy the stock on one exchange at the lower price while selling on the other at a higher price. In doing so, they secure a quick profit. I’ve been an arbitrage trader of commodities for decades, so this is my investing backyard, so to speak. Q. Why is your fund different? Regan: The first part of my model is the arbitrage component. There’s minimal risk because I sell first and then buy, but there is always some transactional risk. You can’t get away from it. But the insurance industry was founded to provide guarantees. We rely on insurance to protect our lives: our homes, our businesses, and our health. So this is where my model excels: we rely on insurance to provide a true contractual guarantee. What makes me different is why my investors love me: I succeeded in getting the insurance industry to understand our trading model. Now, these insurers have “priced the risk.” Because I pay them premiums, they are happy to issue coverage. It is important to note that the insurance companies issue the guarantee directly to my investors. It’s not through our fund or our firm. That provides the next level of assurance since the policy is issued in your name. It’s no different from how they would quote your premium for a life or health insurance product. Based on the investment size, we have the insurance carrier directly issue the surety bond in our client’s name. It’s pretty simple, but it’s a new concept in the hedge fund business where losses and wild volatility are the norm. Q. So, to clarify, your guarantee is a separate insurance policy? Regan: Yes, that’s it! The “guaranteed return” policies are issued to our investors directly from licensed and regulated major insurance carriers and not from our firm. I am sure that if we attempted to offer “guaranteed returns” directly, we would run into issues with the SEC and various other regulatory bodies and consumer protection agencies. It wouldn’t be prudent. This is where I came up with the idea to pair my investment offerings with insurance products. That would ultimately give our investors the highest level of assurance and certainty in a very uncertain world. Our insurance is high quality too. All of our surety bonds and insurance policies are issued by Lloyds of London or other firms carrying investment grade ratings from AM Best. Q. Can you tell us a little more about how you were able to partner with these insurers? Regan: Great question! It’s actually what I am most proud of. Most people assume that creating the model is my crowning achievement, but that’s not the case. Getting the insurance industry to bet big on me was a monumental achievement. Everyone in the financial industry knows that the insurance industry is incredibly regulated, conservative, bureaucratic and slow-moving. When I approached insurers, I was immediately subjected to intense scrutiny. I endured several forensic financial audits that spanned over 21 long months. Initially, I was forced to put up eight figures Feb23228

7. in counter-guarantees. There was a never-ending mountain of legal documents and bureaucratic red tape before I could obtain the backing from the insurers we now work with. But it was worth the pain, as we now can issue our investors policies insuring against loss and guaranteeing a minimum return of 24% per annum. Q. How long have you been successfully applying this strategy? Regan: It’s been six years now. However, only within the last year were we able to roll out the insurance policy with surety bond protection for our investors. Q. How much money do you currently manage? Regan: I’ve developed and refined my strategy with my own capital, which I consider essential. As an investor, you want your managers to have skin in the game, and you get it with me. Since I started offering insurance policies, I’ve only recently started accepting outside investors. I’m currently managing around $50 million, most of that being my capital. Unlike most traditional fund managers, my niche doesn’t allow me to scale into the billions, nor is that size and scale appealing to me. Q. Tell us a little about your personal life… what do you do when you’re not thinking about arbitrage and investor insurance policies? Regan: I am a proud father and born-again Christian. I practice something called Bushido and live according to a strict code of honor and morals developed by Japanese samurai. I love the seven principles of Bushido and practice them daily. I am also a huge adrenaline guy. I like extreme sports and anything that allows me to test my mental fortitude and self-imposed psychological and physical limitations. I also love donating funds to help underprivileged children in the regions of Colombia where we have most of our relationships with artisanal and small to medium-sized private mining operations. Q. How many funds do you currently manage? Regan: Three. I want to keep it that way. I like simple, and I like easy. These three hit the investment goals and objectives of nearly anyone I might speak to, regardless of age, risk appetite, investment goals, or suitability. My lineup includes the Next Level Income Fund, the Next Level Growth Fund and the Next Level Retirement Fund. Q. Why would people invest? Regan: Really….(laughs) aside from guaranteed returns? (Laughs again.) Well, I always like to use the most popular benchmark of performance that professional investors typically use, the S&P 500 Index. Before I explain how I have crushed the S&P Index in terms of risk-adjusted performance, I want to highlight a little-known fact. Over 90% of hedge fund managers don’t even match the S&P Index. In the years 2011 through 2020, the S&P 500 beat the average hedge fund every year. Yet if we compare my Next Level Growth Fund where investors get a guaranteed APY of 33.3% ROI, you would need to go back to 1995 (28 years ago) to find a year where an investor would have seen a better return. Now…to do that with the addition of an insurance policy guaranteeing an index-beating return? You tell me what you think. (Laughs again.) Q. Thanks Paul, this has been an amazing interview. How can people invest or learn more? Regan: Send an email to [email protected] I am still small enough that I usually answer all inquiries personally. You can also visit our website at https://www.nextlevelholdings.co/.

8. Q2 Wealth & Finance Powerful Pensions Support Built on Decades of Experience, Delivering Transparency and Control Leading Through Innovation Operating since 1998, iPensions Group works with regulated advisers to provide a range of award-winning personal pensions for UK and non-UK residents. Innovative technology combined with decades of experience and talented people allows the company to lead the industry in providing a powerful pension support. With a strong focus on its practices, people, products, and technology, continuous improvement and innovation are what sets iPensions Group apart. Supported by a flexible and dynamic approach, it builds enduring business relationships that deliver. The company’s bespoke technology platform enables advisers and members to access their information 24 hours a day while its helpful team is on-hand with personable support and information. With a wealth of experience as pension trustees and administrators, iPensions Group balances new thinking with the security and confidence that comes from intense governance to ensure every client is well looked after. Pension regulations don’t stand still and neither does the iPensions team. It’s why they continually improve their multi-jurisdictional pensions knowledge, ensuring their robust service is built on expertise as deep as it is broad. Using its in-house built system, the company continually explores new and innovative ways to facilitate reliable and timely support for its advisers and clients. Robust Regulatory Compliance Led by a team of highly experienced and technical people, iPensions Group has a robust governance system backed by detailed procedures. Its adherence to regulatory compliance provides advisers with the peace of mind, comfort, and necessary support to help them protect their clients’ interests. Its service is delivered transparently, accurately, and in a timely manner by a team that’s ready to go the extra mile. A cautious appetite to risk gives it a strong and well-structured foundation. It’s this blend of due diligence, continuous improvement, and excellent service that has proven the company’s worth to thousands of clients and their advisers. What Sets iPensions Group Apart? • Complete Customer Care: iPensions Group ensures every client is well looked after with unrivalled service and information that’s accurate, thorough, and timely. • Comprehensive Technical Expertise: It works directly with advisers providing support through its dedicated team and informative knowledge bank. • Multi-Jurisdictional Solutions: Supporting your client’s needs, the company offers a complete solution working with regulated advisers in multiple jurisdictions. • Dedicated People: Its well-trained, personable people balance dedication, vigilance, and caution while going the extra mile. • Transparent Fees and Communication: Its fee structure is simple, clear, and fair, as it aims for jargon-free, easy to understand information which is reflected in all its communication. • Robust Governance: Strong procedures and practices backed by controls and a cautious risk appetite ensures it maintains the highest standards in governance and regulatory compliance to deliver peace of mind. Adviser and Member Portal – 24/7 Access From Anywhere in the World iPensions Group are pension administrators, industry experts, and above all, partners in supporting your clients’ retirement needs. Its people make the difference, and that starts with its leadership team. Its diverse team bring the unique talents, experiences, and perspective that drive innovation and efficiency in all areas. They combine their extensive knowledge of the industry and pensions sector with a breadth of experience, a passion for innovating technologies, and intense diligence to ensure they are the partner you can rely on when it comes to pensions. If you are looking to find out more about iPension Group’s award-winning offering and technology enhanced solutions, get in touch with the team. Company: iPensions Group Email: [email protected] Telephone: 0161 972 2840 Website: www.ipensionsgroup.com Apr23359 iPensions Group brings deep technical knowledge and high-calibre service to the pensions sector. With a clear focus on technology and innovation backed by a strong set of values, the company evolves its services to ensure its offering is as robust tomorrow as it is today. By continually enhancing its expertise, it leads the pensions market and is renowned for building long-term client relationships founded on dependable, specialist support. Recognised as Most Innovative Pensions Support Provider 2023 - North West England in this issue of Wealth & Finance magazine, we take a closer look at what iPensions Group has to offer.

Q2 Wealth & Finance 9. Oct22055 Energy price cap’s trickle effect on inflation and three likely scenarios for UK consumers, according to market experts • End of government energy price cap helps lower inflation, but new Ofgem cap realistically not changing much for households • Experts predict three immediate scenarios, all bleak in the short run • Base rate likely to rise again, but 12-streak hike so far coming to an end Top market analysts at CMC Markets predict a wave of bad news after UK inflation did not fall as low as expected. The new Ofgem price cap changes little for household bills, but the end of the two government schemes helped lower inflation. They forecast three bleak scenarios: further squeeze on consumers, another rise in the base rate, or the UK going into recession. There is, however, the cautious chance that the long streak of rate hikes may be nearing an end. On Wednesday, the Bank of England announced that headline CPI fell to 8.7% in April, whereas experts suggest it could have dropped by another 0.5%. This means that prices will still rise sharply, but at a slightly slower pace. Last month saw a modest decrease in grocery prices, of only 0.1% to a concerning 19.1% annual rise, perpetuating the burden of the cost-of-living crisis on UK households. Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets, comments: “We already know from the Kantar grocery numbers earlier this week that food inflation is slowing. In May, it came in at 17.2%, but the process is looking increasingly glacial.” Three scenarios: 0.25% rate rise, further consumer squeeze or recession Hewson paints a bleak picture for the upcoming months, with three likely scenarios. There may be a rise in the base rate by another 0.25% in June, impacting mortgages; or keeping the base rate at the current level and waiting for inflation to run its course without interference, affecting consumer prices who already deal with food prices that are almost a fifth more expensive than the year before. The third likely scenario for the UK is, similar to Germany, entering a recession, with widespread ramifications like reduced household and business expenditure, reduced demand for debt, and a rise in unemployment. “For now, the central bank is in the invidious position of having no good options. Do nothing and inflation will take longer to work its way out of the system, squeezing consumers further, raise by 25bps to at least show they are trying to do something, or be more aggressive and push the economy into recession,” Hewson explains. For the UK to enter a recession, by definition, it would need to register two consecutive quarters of negative growth in GDP. In February, the Bank of England predicted a -0.7% contraction by the end of 2023, compared to 2022, also expecting a shorter and shallower recession than anticipated in November. However, it has now announced that the UK’s economy could, in fact, expand by 0.25%. Hewson remains sceptical: “The bank now sees 0.2% growth for Q1, and 0.2% for Q2 as well, while upgrading its GDP forecast for 2023 to 0.25% from -0.3% and indicating a 0.75% expansion in 2024. While this is welcome news, it is also important to remember that just over six months ago, the bank was predicting a two-year recession, so their track record is not particularly great.” Bright light at the end of the tunnel On May 11th, the Bank of England rose the base rate again, for the 12th consecutive time, to a record 4.5%. Some turbulence may still lie immediately ahead, but the rate hike cycle may be closing soon. “Markets are already pricing that rates could peak at 5.5%, 100bps above where the base rate is now. That is not good news for mortgage rates, although there is an awful lot of water that can flow under the bridge between now and the June meeting, and May CPI could surprise to the downside.” On the bright side, CMC Markets’ top analyst expects that the long streak of 12 rate surges so far may be nearing its end. Hewson said that there is a “very real prospect that we could be at the end of the rate hiking cycle, or at least very close to it.” Energy price cap’s trickle effect on inflation At the end of March, the UK government ended the energy price guarantee and the £400 energy bill support scheme for every household with a domestic connection. This prevented lower energy prices from trickling down to the headline rate of inflation. With the government’s energy schemes having come to an end, the these are dropping out of the baseline CPI calculation and finally sees inflation fall. Hewson explains: “CPI numbers have not fully reflected the decline in energy prices over the last few months, however there is an expectation that is merely an effect that has been deferred due to the government energy price cap, which has prevented this effect trickling down into the headline numbers.” Ofgem announced on Thursday that it would cap annual energy bills to £2,074 from July, from the previous £3,280 price cap for April to June. Without the two government energy schemes in place, the new Ofgem cap does not change the bottom line much for consumers’ pockets, with upcoming winter bills expected to be at somewhat similar levels for households across the UK.

Nov22526 Q2 Wealth & Finance Expense management app achieves industry first with new service, Expend Card Connect. The new product enables Visa Business Card debit and credit transactions to be passed into Expend in real-time. This allows expense data to be processed and ready for review by managers and finance teams instantly. It is believed to be the first time an expense management software company has been able to do this. CEO, Johnny Vowles, said with Expend Card Connect, the company was “continuing to revolutionise” the expense management market. “This allows businesses to immediately see purchases made on any Visa Business Cards that are connected to Expend, and approve them for filing into their company accounts.” He added: “Managing employees’ business expense claims costs companies considerable time and effort. “The Expend app enables employees to submit business expenses on their smartphones at the moment of purchase, with expense data and receipts being made available instantly for review, then passed straight into company accountts via their accounting software, such as Xero and QuickBooks.” Currently, payments on business credit card balances are managed centrally by a firm’s finance team, costing the company valuable time in processing each expense purchase. Expend’s Card Connect removes this overhead. It also eliminates the risk of errors being introduced through manual data inputting. With Expend Card Connect, whenever a Visa Business Credit or Debit card that has been linked with the company’s account is used, a notification will be sent to the recipient to record the receipt on their smartphone and submit it for processing via the Expend app. Some of the many benefits of this service include card payments no longer needing to be checked against bank statements. Johnny Vowles said: “In business, real-time visibility of costs is an important consideration. Expend Card Connect continues our mission to improve real-time visibility and zero-touch processing of personal expenses and answers a pressing customer need. “If companies do not have company credit cards, or their employees prefer not to use their personal credit cards for company expenses, as part of our all-in-one platform, we also offer smart company cards with customisable spending rules. These provide instant tracking of employee spend on company purchases.” He added: “We offer customers universal expense management and support all purchase methods, including both corporate and personal credit and debit cards, their company bank account, Expend company cards as well as cash. “Regardless of how businesses choose to pay their expenses, we offer seamless automation to save time and hassle.” Nov22526 The spend and expense management platform Expend has launched ‘Expend Card Connect’, enabling real-time integration of Visa Business Card transactions for seamless processing of business expenses.


12. Q2 Wealth & Finance Oct21051 Isomer Capital defies industry headwinds with an early first close of new €250m fund, Isomer Capital III • Isomer Capital’s track record and reputation as a ‘partnership’ investor has enabled the firm’s third flagship fund to reach a substantial first close ahead of schedule, despite headwinds in the macroenvironment. • Since inception, Isomer Capital has invested in more than 70 early-stage venture capital (VC) firms across Europe, gaining exposure to 29 unicorns to date, including the likes of Deliveroo, Tractable, Oyster in the UK, ManoMano, Sorare in France, Wefox in Germa-ny, UiPath in Romania and Dune Analytics in Norway. • Isomer’s proven hybrid fund of funds strategy is one of the best ways for institutional investors to access the high potential of European technology venture capital, by sup-porting European entrepreneurs creating the technology products of tomorrow. • Isomer Capital has attracted investment from British Business Investments, the Europe-an Commission, and a range of endowments, pensions, corporates, and family offices from across Europe, Asia, and the United States. Isomer Capital, the independent private investment firm focused exclusively on European ven-ture capital (VC), has today announced the first close of its new €250m Isomer Capital III (IC III), with one third of its target subscribed by an early group of returning investors. The fund’s fast progress is a testament to its strategy, past performance and a strong base of supporters, as well as the resilience of the sector in the face of macroeconomic headwinds. The fund’s first close was held four months earlier than originally planned, leveraging Isomer’s reputation and partnership model to quickly secure access to four early-stage VC firms that held their funds open to welcome Isomer into their own final closes. Joe Schorge, Managing Partner at Isomer Capital, said: “Though the current economic climate is challenging, the European technology ecosystem has proven to be resilient, innovative and highly productive, bringing exciting new technology products and businesses to the world at an increasing velocity. Our team has built a strong brand and reputation as a ‘valueadd’ limited partner (LP), and the swift progress of Isomer Capital III is a testament to their good work. We will deploy IC III over the next two years, which given the powerful combination of Europe’s maturing talent base and prudent valuations we believe can be some of the best vintage years in the VC sector.” IC III continues the firm’s successful strategy of investing in Europe’s best emerging VC funds and growth companies, enabling investors to access some of the most competitive, exciting and high-potential young technology businesses across the UK and Europe. The fund follows the same strategy and sizing of its predecessor, IC II, which is performing well as its net asset value (NAV) continued increasing in Q4 2022 against macro headwinds, maintaining its ranking in the top 5% of its kind globally. A commitment of up to €60m was made by British Business Investments, a commercial subsid-iary of the British Business Bank. British Business Investments is a repeat and early investor in Isomer, having previously committed to Isomer II and Isomer Capital Opportunities in 2021. Alongside British Business Investments and the European Commission, Isomer Capital has at-tracted a range of endowments, pensions, corporates, and family offices from across Europe, Asia, and the United States. Investors include the likes of Fondaco, Happiness Capital, Italmobil-iare, Nikon, PwC Germany, and one of the largest foundations in Germany and a well known US endowment. Chris Wade, Partner and co-founder of Isomer Capital, adds: “As a pioneer of the VC ‘fund of funds’ model in Europe, with a track record of backing some of the best VCs and emerging managers across the continent, we will strive to continue delivering strong performance and consistent returns with Isomer III.” Judith Hartley, CEO of British Business Investments, said: “Isomer Capital is a specialist fund of funds manager, with well-established venture and growth capital investment capabilities. Fol-lowing our support for Isomer’s ICII in 2020 and the Opportunities Fund in 2021, we are pleased to commit to Isomer Capital III to continue our support for innovative growing businesses.’’ Since its inception, Isomer Capital has invested in over 70 VC funds, with groups like Atlantic Labs, Entrepreneur First, FRST, OpenOcean, OTB, and Seedcamp, as well as 31 coinvestments and secondary transactions. This has enabled Isomer and its LPs to gain exposure to 29 uni-corns (approximately 10% of Europe’s total number of unicorns). Earlier-than-expected first close of Isomer Capital’s third flagship fund continues proven strategy of investing in Europe’s best venture capital funds and their breakout companies “Isomer Capital, the independent private investment firm focused exclusively on European ven-ture capital (VC), has today announced the first close of its new €250m Isomer Capital III (IC III), with one third of its target subscribed by an early group of returning investors.

Q2 Wealth & Finance 13. APPROVED FINANCE GROUP LAUNCHES NEW TAX DIVISION Milton Keynes-based asset finance brokerage Approved Finance Group has announced the launch of Approved Tax Limited (ATL), its new division designed to support SMEs with innovative funding solutions. Its new specialist tax advisory focuses on incentives and original funding for areas such as Research & Development Tax Relief, Stamp Duty Land Tax, Capital Allowances and Land Remediation Relief. With over 65 years of experience in financial services, the launch of ATL will support multiple sectors but particularly construction and manufacturing businesses due to the increased R&D activities in those spaces. The new division will support the company’s continued growth in providing financial support across the SME sector; providing funding strategies to businesses to boost productivity or expand into new markets. Since gaining its first clients earlier this month, ATL has already opened up opportunities for new and existing clients to change the way business owners experience and understand business tax with seamless collaboration across other divisions including business finance, property finance and motor finance. Shiv Halai, Managing Director of Approved Tax Limited, said: “This marks an exciting development in the Approved Group story. With so many synergies between our product sets as well as the requirements of the client base, we are passionate about bringing real value with our tax incentives and innovation funding. “I believe that exploration is the engine that drives innovation, and it is that innovation that will drive economic growth. ATL will be at the forefront of that movement. “The launch has gone very well so far, the team have extensive knowledge of boardroom strategy and a strong dedication to facilitating our clients through a variety of service lines.” Rory Dunn, Managing Director of the Approved Group, added: “I am extremely excited about the team we have built at Approved Tax. Their product and sector knowledge, technical expertise and relentless pursuit of delivering best-in-class customer service align perfectly with the Approved Finance mantra. The project team should be proud of what they have achieved and I cannot wait to see this new division fly.” About Approved Finance Group The Approved Finance Group (AFG) is a specialist finance company that covers business finance, property finance, motor finance and R&D and tax relief. Launched in May 2019, Approved Business Finance (ABF) has grown rapidly over the last 2 years. Starting with the original founders, the firm now employs over 30 people at its Central Milton Keynes office. ABF understands the daily challenges facing those who dare to dream big and fulfil their aspirations. With no lengthy applications and jumping through hoops to secure the finance a business needs, ABF has facilitated over £300 Million in Asset and Loan funding since inception, with over £105 million of this being completed in 2022. Their customer base not only covers multiple industry sectors, such as Construction, Manufacturing, Engineering, Logistics, Retail and Hospitality but also geographically covers the whole of the United Kingdom.

Nov22526 Q2 Wealth & Finance Jun21296 IQ Capital raises $400m to invest in transformative deep tech startups across UK and Europe IQ Capital, the leading London-based deep tech venture capital firm, today announces the final close of its fourth Venture Fund at $200m (Fund IV), taking its assets under management to more than $1bn. The firm has also launched its second $200m Growth Fund to provide later-stage funding to outperforming companies, primarily in its venture portfolios. This enables IQ Capital to deploy capital at multiple stages, investing an additional $30m in individual companies as they internationalise. IQ Capital has defined deep tech investing in the UK since its foundation in Cambridge in 2007. The firm will continue to invest at Seed and Series A into UK and European startups to commercialise IP-rich breakthrough technologies and back founders with the ambition to scale globally. Fund IV will build on the success of IQ Capital’s existing funds, which have achieved exits to Oracle, Google, Apple and Facebook, along with several high-profile IPOs and delivered industry-beating returns to the investors. IQ Capital’s PhD-rich team has invested in over 100 deep tech startups, attracting a further $1.4 billion follow-on capital to its portfolio and creating over 4,000 deep tech jobs. IQ Capital’s general partners, Kerry Baldwin, Max Bautin and Ed Stacey, have worked together for more than 20 years, with their commercial and scientific networks attracting founders from across Europe. IQ Capital’s investments include: Thought Machine, a corebanking software unicorn which they backed from Seed; Nyobolt, ultra-fast charging battery tech; and Speechmatics, the leading speech recognition technology scale-up. Investors in Fund IV include global institutions, funds-of-funds, family offices, corporates and tech entrepreneurs of whom several were previously backed by IQ Capital, as well as British Patient Capital, the largest LP investing in UK venture capital. Kerry Baldwin, co-founder, Managing Partner and previous Chair of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA), said: “Deep tech will play a pivotal role as both the UK and Europe continue to lead the way in developing technology that will have a lasting global impact. IQ Capital backs IP-rich technologies with the potential to dominate massive global markets, at a time when deep tech investment is at the forefront of investor’s minds, topping $17bn in 2022.” Max Bautin, co-founder, Managing Partner and board member of Invest Europe commented: “The world has seen many examples of the transformative impact that deep tech can create to achieve vital improvements in all spheres of life and help address some of the biggest challenges facing humanity. Breakthroughs in “novel AI” models, new energy & climate, robotics and space-tech, quantum computing, synthetic biology – all demonstrate what a significant opportunity deep tech now presents.” Fund IV has already made investments including: DreamFold, which uses Generative AI algorithms to predict the properties of therapeutic proteins; Risilience, a climate-risk platform providing the technology for multinational corporates to meet their net-zero objectives, which has gone on to raise a further $26m, and Secretarium, which has pioneered confidential computing, developing the world’s first ‘trustless’ cloud computing infrastructure, based on advanced cryptography using only standard hardware components. Paul Taylor, founder of Thought Machine, said: “At Thought Machine, we are delighted to see IQ Capital closing their fourth fund. IQ Capital has been central to Thought Machine’s success. They invested $2.5m at Seed stage, following on with another $50m through our growth stages as we expanded globally. IQ Capital provided much more: their experience in every aspect of deep tech development and commercialisation is unrivalled and they fully stand behind founders through good times and bad. We rightly regard IQ Capital as a partner for our whole journey. I was so impressed with IQ Capital that I personally invested in the fund and I always enjoy seeing the breadth and depth of the companies IQ Capital supports. I very much hope fund 4 is another stepping stone to IQ Capital, the UK’s and Europe’s growing deep tech success story.” Two new funds take assets under management to more than $1bn “IQ Capital has defined deep tech investing in the UK since its foundation in Cambridge in 2007. The firm will continue to invest at Seed and Series A into UK and European startups to commercialise IP-rich breakthrough technologies and back founders with the ambition to scale globally.


Gen Z are leading payment landscape shift with cash-reliant nations opting for digital alternatives The concept of a cashless society is becoming a reality, with digital payments becoming increasingly popular among Gen Z with Gen X following suit, says Lanistar. A recent survey identified that 35 per cent of 18-24-year-olds have increased their usage of digital banking services since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, indicating that Gen Z are driving a shift away from traditional payment methods. Instead of cash, they are opting to use contactless payments, digital wallets, banking apps and cryptocurrencies. Jeremy Baber, CEO of Lanistar, said: “When reflecting on the past decade, the payments landscape has shifted dramatically with digital payments leading the race. Gen Z and Millennials desire quicker and more convenient payment methods. People in these age groups are known for their technological proficiencies, with many not recalling a time without online services and mobile phones. With technology playing a big part in daily life, it is unsurprising that these groups are choosing to benefit from the speed and convenience of using alternative payment methods.” Nations such as Brazil that have typically relied on cash, are embracing the digital payment evolution. 85 per cent of Brazilians now have access to financial services, up from 55 per cent, with cash use dropping from 60 per cent in 2012 to just over 40 per cent this year. Meanwhile, European nations such as Norway are on the cusp of becoming cashless, with 95 per cent of the population using mobile payment apps in 2023 and 3-5 per cent of point-of-sale transactions paid for by cash, while the UK expects to hit the mark by 2026 with just 17 per cent relying on cash. Baber said: “Traditionally cash driven nations are opting to digitise, with Generation Z fuelling the fire. Gen X are bridging the gap between the digital and traditional economies, and many people in this age category are adapting digital technologies such as BNPL and contactless Apr22173 payments, however many are also loyal to traditional payment methods.” “Older generations are slowly recognising the convenience and flexibility digital technology payments introduce. When looking to the future, FinTech’s must focus on taking a steer to create a payment ecosystem of the future.” Baber concluded, “On a global scale, it’s clear that we are taking strides towards a cashless society, with the biggest indication being that even cash-dependent nations are opting to digitise and adopt FinTech payments technologies to embrace change. This is likely due to tech savvy Gen Z entering the workforce and having cash to spend, and as a result this is fuelling the need for businesses to offer digitised payments.” “Alternative technologies, such as banking apps and digital wallets, provide a simple and secure payment method that is unrestricted and easily accessible and that’s a huge benefit for businesses and individuals alike so as Gen Z and Millennials become the majority consumer, no doubt the payment landscape will continue to shift in favour of the new digital age.” “Jeremy Baber, CEO of Lanistar, said: “When reflecting on the past decade, the payments landscape has shifted dramatically with digital payments leading the race.

Q2 Wealth & Finance 17.

&wealth finance i n t e r n a t i o n a l Distributed each quarter to more than 65,000 high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals, fund managers, institutional investors and professional services firms, Wealth & Finance International has rapidly become the go-to resource for those looking to make the right decisions when it comes to securing and growing their wealth. SUBSCRIBE www.wealthandfinance-news.com