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Backing Britain after Brexit – looking for home grown investments

What will make Britain great again is literally, grass roots investment, argues Craig Reeves, founder, Prestige Funds

Clients, in particular the more affluent ones, are always looking for new ways to invest and more often than not, turn to their paraplanners and advisers to help them choose suitable investments that really resonate with their beliefs and views. In the main their wealth is hard earned and they understand the responsibility that comes with it and so also want to do the right thing, for themselves and for society.

With the UK’s decision to exit the European Union, and Brexit talks seeming to stall at best and appearing shambolic at worst, Britain needs to rebuild itself from within and ensure that it maintains its prominence on the world’s stage. It must not shrink back and become an insignificant island.

In recent weeks we have seen farmers and agriculture at the top of the Government agenda. Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary set out his plans for replacing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which supports farmers in EU member states, and will put an end to farming subsidies from Brussels that amount to GBP3bn a year.

It is no great surprise that the Government is concerned with agriculture and farming. With approximately 70% of the UK’s landmass being agricultural, it also employs 1.5% of the workforce in the UK, over 475,000 people. Much of this land and employment is in East Anglia and the South West and those areas have been hit hard by the financial crisis and need to quickly increase production and fill some of the 40% void in what the UK consumes and what as a nation we consume; or prices will increase and we will be at the mercy of EU farmers, taxes and exchange rates.

There is a move towards more organic methods of farming and also better productivity. Farmers need capital to finance better machinery, invest in technology such as GPS, robotics and drones, and solutions to deal with rising energy and waste costs.

One area that many farmers are looking at is anaerobic digestion power generators that use feed crops or manure. The anaerobic digestion market over the years has encountered diversified applications across agriculture, municipal, and food and beverage industries. Farmers and rural entrepreneurs across the region have adopted these technologies to institute a predictable income stream and energy source with an aim to reduce dependency on mineral fertilisers and fossil fuels. Additionally, the food and beverage industry has embraced the technology to process its residue in an ecologically acceptable manner and avoid Government landfill fees (which have increased significantly over the past few years).

Limited availability of land in context to landfills, coupled with growing awareness toward waste management, will also fuel the municipal anaerobic digestion market share. Increasing deposition of waste on account of rapid urbanisation along with growing initiatives toward re-cycle and re-use are some of the indispensable parameters driving the technological adoption. Government policies such as its signature to the Paris Climate Change agreement will also force change on businesses large and small both in the way that they buy and use energy and create and dispose of waste.

Against a backdrop of UK bank branch closures and traditional lenders’ withdrawal from direct commercial lending, small and medium sized businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to access the finance they need. But there are alternative lenders that are trying to fill this gap.

UK investors can become involved in this growing area by looking for investments that focus on lending to SMEs and more specifically at those targeting the backbone of our economy, farmers and agriculture. These can be found in funds, bonds or investing directly in the underlying equities of the manufacturers.

Together we can build a great Britain post Brexit and make sure that the decision made by the UK population is workable, achievable and successful.

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