Panama papers, investors avoid £575m IHT, crowdfunding concerns, is it the top of the market for house prices?, and more


Osborne set to be called to Panama Papers inquiry – George Osborne and ministers from the UK’s extensive network of tax havens are expected to be called as key witnesses during a major inquiry into the Panama Papers. Leaders of the European Parliament will meet in Brussels on Thursday to approve the creation of an influential 65-member “inquiry committee”.

HSBC boss warns of FTT impact – Former HSBC chief executive Michael Geoghegan says leaving the European Union would give Britain more power over taxation. He warned that remaining would mean the EU could impose its planned EU financial transaction tax on banks in Britain, even if the UK does not agree to sign up to the legislation.

Investors avoid £575m IHT – HMRC figures show a rising number of individuals are using investments in high-risk, small, private companies in order to avoid IHT. Some £575m of IHT liabilities were avoided in this way by individuals in 2014-15.

The enterprise economy and small business

Watchdog urged to review P2P protection – Treasury committee chairman Andrew Tyrie has written to the Financial Conduct Authority, urging it to consider tougher regulation of the peer-to-peer (P2P) market. Unlike deposit accounts, which offer depositors 100% protection on the first £75,000, P2P loans are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Shoemaker’s failure raises crowdfunding concerns – Questions have been raised about the demise of luxury shoe company Upper Street after it emerged the firm was presented to crowdfunding investors whilst on the brink of collapse. Upper Street was seeking £300,000 via Seedrs just days before it ceased trading last November, with its failed pitch making no mention of the company’s troubled financial position.

Female-led start-ups required – Writing in the Sunday Times, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says women should play a bigger part in Britain’s start-up scene. She points out that at present, just a fifth of the UK’s small businesses are started by women. New research by Development Economics estimates that 2.7m women in the UK are thinking about starting a business, and Ms Sandberg says if a fifth of these were started today, they could create 425,000 additional jobs by the end of 2020 and contribute £10.1bn to the UK economy.

UK economy and markets

Mortgage rates hit record low – Home buyers paid the lowest interest rates ever on their mortgages in April, according to the Bank of England. The average borrower paid just 2.41% on a new mortgage last month, down from 2.49% in March and 2.64% in April 2015. The BoE data also showed that mortgage lending so far this year is at its highest level since the financial crisis. A total of 497,301 mortgages were approved between January and April, up 17.6% on the same period a year earlier. However, the pace of lending has varied. In March, lenders gave out 124,429 mortgages, up 19% year-on-year, as buy-to-let investors rushed to beat the rise in stamp duty on second properties which came into effect in April. As a result, lending fell to 119,796 mortgages in April, with annual growth slowing to just 4.5%.

Khan: Londoners should have first option on new homes – London mayor Sadiq Khan has called for the city’s residents to have the first option on new homes, partly to prevent London becoming “the world’s capital for money laundering.” Mr Khan told ITV’s Peston On Sunday that developers may be obligated to market new property in the capital to Londoners for the first six months in order to receive planning permission.

House prices compared with earnings ‘close to pre-financial crisis levels’ – The average UK house price is now 6.1 times average earnings, close to the peak of 6.4 it hit before the financial crisis, Fathom Consulting says. A rise in interest rates would lead to a correction, it said. Prices have been pushed up by the availability of cheap home loans, and would need to fall by 40% to bring the ratio back to the pre-2000 average of 3.5 times earnings, the City consultancy added. “Since 2013, the demand for housing has been turbocharged by the Chancellor’s help-to-buy policy and the search for yield – which has resulted in the accumulation of housing wealth as an investment alternative for low-yielding financial assets,” it said.

Osborne has ‘failed’ on Britain’s finances – Iain Duncan Smith has criticised George Osborne for failing to bring Britain’s finances under control. Writing in the Times, the former work and pensions secretary suggested the chancellor’s failure to meet his pledge to balance the books meant his warnings about the economic consequences of leaving the EU could not be trusted. “We must be especially careful of the warnings from the Treasury,” states Mr Duncan Smith, adding: “It has been appalling at forecasting what will happen in the British economy.”


Survey sets out accountants’ top qualities – The ACCA has released the findings of a study into “the perfect finance professional”. The study found that accountants are increasingly regarded as “trusted expert counsel and key strategic advisers” who now require skills including “emotional intelligence and the vision to lead”.

Football clubs generate £4bn revenue – Analysis by Deloitte reveals clubs from English football’s top four tiers generated over £4bn in revenue for the first time in 2014-15. The firm’s Annual Review of Football Finance shows the 20 Premier League clubs generated record revenues of £3.3bn last year, up 3% on the previous season. Deloitte’s Dan Jones said the increasing profitability of clubs would attract investors and a number of Premier League football clubs could be bought by the end of the year.

Wealth managers lagging on tech literacy – A report by PwC has concluded that wealth management is among the least technologically-literate financial services sub-sectors. Based on research involving more than 1,000 high net worth individuals and interviews with industry players, it found only one-quarter of wealth managers offer digital channels beyond e-mail. PwC contrasted this with the finding that 85% of high net worth individuals use three or more digital services in their day-to-day lives.

Christian Elmes, Partner

Christian Elmes trained at PwC and qualified as a chartered accountant in 1999. From there he moved to Morgan Stanley (2000-2002) as Associate in the Investment Banking Division (IBD).

He was appointed Director of Finance, Teather & Greenwood Investment Management in 2002 and moved with the Tax Efficient Solutions team to Smith & Williamson in 2004, becoming Deputy head of the department. Christian left to establish Enterprise in 2011.

Over the last ten years, Christian has been responsible for developing a number of tax efficient products, particularly Enterprise Investment Schemes. He is able to lead on tax efficient product development from inception through to completion. He has a financial and tax background and commercial experience.

Christian is competent across a broad range of sectors including, leisure and hospitality, media, property and renewable energy.

Christian is a non-executive board member to a number of leisure and hospitality companies, Casper & Cole Ltd, Wright & Bell Ltd, Albion & East Ltd, Camm & Hooper Ltd and Darwin & Wallace Ltd.

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