RC Brown AIM IHT ISA

RC Brown is a boutique investment management business with £330 million of assets under management, of which £33.3 million is held within the AIM IHT service.

The business was founded by Bob Brown, the current chairman, in 1990, and all members of the RC Brown team – directors, managers, and administrators – are equity shareholders or have equity options in the business. 

The investment team is experienced and has an investment strategy focused on finding opportunities in the primary market, e.g. new share issues. It is an investment strategy the business has followed for 30 years through its other mandates, including the MFM UK Primary Opportunities Fund. It sets it apart from other AIM IHT portfolios, which may participate in – but do not have a focus on – primary opportunities.

  • Portfolio of 30-40 AIM stocks
  • Focus on primary market opportunities
  • Minimum investment £50,000 (or £20,000 if topping up an existing portfolio) - you can apply online
  • Apply in an ISA: top up or make a new subscription online using the link below. To transfer existing ISAs, please download, print and complete the application form and post it to us
  • Apply outside an ISA: please contact us for details

Important: The information on this website is for experienced investors. It is not a personal recommendation to invest. If you’re unsure, please seek advice. Investments are for the long term. They are high risk and illiquid and can fall as well as rise in value: you could lose all the money you invest.

Read important documents and then apply

The manager

RC Brown is a Bristol-based boutique investment management business founded by Bob Brown in 1990. Bob was previously at DRG, where he took the investment management of the DRG Pension Fund in-house. His team from the DRG Pension Fund followed him when he set up RC Brown. For the following two decades, the business specialised in managing portfolios for company pension schemes and major charities. In 2009, it expanded its offering to include private client investment management services. 

RC Brown has been investing in the AIM market for more than 20 years, and in 2018 decided to launch its own AIM IHT portfolio service.

All members of the RC Brown team – directors, managers, and administrators – are equity shareholders or have equity options. RC Brown believes this means its employees are motivated to provide the highest standards of service to clients. The business managed £330 million on behalf of its clients, with £33.3 million invested within the AIM IHT portfolio service (March 2022).

The service is managed by two investment directors: Oliver Brown and Neil Whelan. 

Oliver has over 15 years of investment experience and is lead manager of the IFSL RC Brown UK Primary Opportunities Fund. This fund often shares ideas with the inheritance tax service. Oliver is a qualified chartered accountant who joined the family business in 2006. 

Neil has over 18 years’ experience in the investment industry and has held a number of investment management roles in the South West and Wales. Neil joined RC Brown in 2016 and is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment. 

Oliver and Neil are supported by three investment professionals, including Chairman Bob Brown.

The custodian for this service is RCBIM Nominees Limited (a non profit-making wholly owned subsidiary of RC Brown Investment Management PLC) which will hold your shares on your behalf.

Watch our latest video interview with manager Oliver Brown:

Video recorded in July 2021

Investment strategy

RC Brown’s investment strategy is focused on identifying and exploiting opportunities in the primary market: the term used to describe a market in which shares are offered for sale for the first time. RC Brown also includes wholesale activity. 

This is an approach the company has followed since it was founded in 1990 and is adopted by both its unit trust, IFSL RC Brown Primary Opportunities Fund, and the AIM IHT investment service.

RC Brown identifies four key scenarios which might give rise to a primary market opportunity:

  1. Initial Public Offering (IPO) – Companies issuing shares for the first time, e.g. when they are admitted to AIM 
  2. Placings by companies – AIM-quoted companies might look to raise additional capital for expansion by issuing new shares 
  3. Placings by shareholders – Existing shareholders might look to sell a large position in a company which might be difficult to sell in the secondary market
  4. Sub-underwriting shares – Buying shares not taken up by shareholders in a recent rights issue, typically at depressed prices 

The main reasons RC Brown pursues this strategy are:

  • Discount to market price: Companies wishing to raise new capital in the primary market typically issue new shares at a discount (usually 2–10%) to the current market price, to attract investors
  • Accounting clarity: A company wishing to raise capital needs to provide an update to investors/prospective investors. This allows RC Brown to complete its due diligence and be as confident as it can in the company’s financial position
  • Deal flow: RC Brown is a known primary market participant and sees many opportunities throughout the year, but only invests in a fraction of these.

Current portfolio overview

Investors into the service can expect to receive a portfolio of 30 to 40 holdings across a range of sectors. The average market cap is £625.8 million and in aggregate more than c.68% of the assets in the service is invested in businesses with market capitalisations greater than £250 million (March 2022). 

Investors can choose whether their portfolio should remain in cash whilst RC Brown invests into primary market opportunities as they arise, or whether it should be invested over a matter of weeks into RC Brown’s current buy list. The latter option might appeal to investors who wish to start the two-year minimum holding period as soon as possible. The construction of client portfolios will be determined by market conditions and opportunities at the time of investment. Each client’s portfolio may, therefore, differ slightly.

The minimum investment is normally £50,000. This means ISA investors will need to transfer existing ISAs as well if they intend to invest new money. However, RC Brown has informed us it would consider a joint full ISA application of £40,000, for instance between husband and wife.

The chart below shows the portfolio sector breakdown for the top 10 sectors, which together account for 79.7% of the portfolio. 

Sector breakdown (%)

Market capitalisation breakdown (%)

Source: RC Brown, Morningstar, as at 31 March 2022.

Example of portfolio companies

Saietta Group - Amati AIM VCTSaietta Group plc (recent investment)

Saietta Group is an engineering business specialising in motors for a wide range of electric vehicles. Unlike conventional electric motors, which are cylindrical in shape, Saietta’s motor has a disc-like shape so it can fit inside each wheel rim, leading to a more efficient transfer of power. Saietta aims to transform the light motorbike market in Asia, where the business has secured a significant partnership with Padmini VNA, a leading Indian automotive supplier. In India alone, 20 million heavily polluting light motorbikes are sold every year.

The Oxfordshire-based company was admitted to AIM in July 2021, raising £37.5 million to establish a motor durability testing facility and pilot production facility with the goal of manufacturing 100,000 units per annum within three years.

More recently, the group announced a four-fold increase in revenue to £3.6 million for its latest financial year (March 2022). Engineering design services were responsible for the majority of this, but the company is still in the early stages of commercialising its technology at scale. Since listing, Saietta has also completed a full acquisition of e-Traction, a leading supplier of electric drivetrains and high voltage electronics. The acquisition will improve commercial and technology capabilities and includes an established production facility in the Netherlands.

The AIM IHT service invested in the company at IPO.

marlowe Plc – RC Brown AIM IHT ISAMarlowe 

Marlowe plc is a provider of business-critical services and software which assure safety and regulatory compliance whilst managing risk for businesses across the country. 

Through its two operating divisions, the business offers a range of services covering health & safety, HR & employment law, occupational health, compliance software, fire safety, security, water safety, water treatment & hygiene and air testing & quality. 

The business operates across 50 sites in the UK and employs more than 3,000 people. More than 85% of its revenues are recurring, and the business boasts an average customer relationship of 12 years.

In its latest interim report, the business generated revenues of £134.5 million for six months to September 2021, up from £83.3 million on the same period in 2020. Past performance is not a guide to the future. The business has a market cap of £862 million (March 2022).

Morses Club 

As is to be expected, not all investments will be successful. Morses Club is an example. The business specialises in non-standard loans and is the second-largest operator in the UK home collected credit market (agents deliver the loans directly to customers’ homes and visit each week to collect repayments).

RC Brown invested as part of a clean-up trade, where RC Brown and other institutions bought shares from distressed seller Woodford Investment Management. RC Brown considered the shares to offer value with a dividend yield over 5% and believed that with the Woodford selling pressure removed, the shares would head higher, as they initially did. However, Morses Club issued a profit warning as a result of higher than expected impairments resulting from a switch in focus from doorstep to digital collections. A worsening consumer backdrop as the Covid-19 pandemic started to unfold added to this. RC Brown exited its holding at a loss.

Performance 

The RC Brown AIM IHT portfolio service was launched in April 2018. The chart below shows the performance of the service since launch against a peer group of other AIM ISA portfolios available via Wealth Club. Performance since launch has been encouraging, although the track record of the service remains limited. Like other IHT portfolios, this is a discretionary managed service so each portfolio is likely to be different. 

Cumulative performance since launch to 31 March 2022

The default view is the performance for this particular offer. You'll be able to see the performance of other AIM ISA offers if you click on the portfolio names above. Source: RC Brown and other AIM ISA managers. Performance is shown net of fees, excluding initial charges, with dividends reinvested, based on the average portfolio performance across the service, except for Puma and Fundamental which shows the performance of one example portfolio. Past performance is not a guide to the future. Dividends are variable and not guaranteed.

Five-year discrete performance

AIM IHT portfolio YTD 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 Five years to 31 Mar 2022
RC Brown AIM IHT -15.6% 9.5% 17.5% 23.2% n/a n/a n/a

See five-year discrete performance comparison of all available AIM IHT portfolios

Source: AIM ISA managers (31 March 2022). Performance is shown net of fees, excluding initial charges, with dividends reinvested, based on the average portfolio performance across the service, except for Puma and Fundamental which shows the performance of one example portfolio. Past performance is not a guide to the future. Dividends are variable and not guaranteed.

Access to your investment

Investors can request partial or full withdrawals from the portfolio at any time, subject to liquidity. In normal market conditions, RC Brown aims to fulfil withdrawal requests within 30 days but this is not guaranteed.

Risks – important

This, like all investments available through Wealth Club, is only for experienced investors happy to make their own investment decisions without advice. Those considering AIM Inheritance Tax Portfolios should be comfortable with the significant risks of investing on AIM.

AIM IHT portfolios should only form part of a balanced portfolio. Your capital is at risk and you should not invest money you cannot afford to lose. The fewer the companies included in the portfolio, the higher the risk of loss if things don’t go to plan.  

AIM stocks can be hard to sell, particularly at the smaller end of the market, and can be illiquid. AIM shares can be very volatile especially if the market falls sharply. The difference between the buying and selling price (spread) of AIM shares is often wider than the spread for shares listed on the main market. 

Eligibility for BPR, based on current rules, is assessed at the date of death and will depend on the companies in the portfolio remaining qualifying. Broadly speaking, you will need to have held a BPR qualifying stock for at least two years and still hold it on death to qualify. Tax rules can change and benefits depend on circumstances.

Before you invest, please carefully read the Risks and Commitments and the offer documents to ensure you fully understand the risks. 

Whilst RC Brown has a long-serving and established investment team, in our view, there is an element of key-person risk as Oliver Brown and Neil Whelan are central to the service.

Charges

A summary of the main charges and savings is shown below. The investment may have additional charges and expenses. Please see the fees document for more details. If you would like a full breakdown or a personal illustration, please let us know.

Full initial charge £500*
Wealth Club initial saving
Net initial charge through Wealth Club £500*
Annual management charge 1.25%
Administration charge
Dealing fee
Performance fee
Exit fee
All fees and charges are stated exclusive of VAT, which may be applicable in some cases.*Initial charge waived on top ups.

See example of the total charges over 5 years

Our view

RC Brown is an established investment management boutique with a close-knit investment team. All members of the team have a stake in the business, which may translate into high levels of service for clients, and greater dedication from the investment team. 

The business has a long history of investing in AIM and has followed its primary market opportunities investment strategy for the past 30 years. 

The service has a simple and competitive fee structure. The lack of dealing fees could be appealing, especially if investing smaller sums, where dealing fees can have a disproportionate impact on returns. For investors considering an AIM IHT portfolio, this is a competitive offering from an experienced team, which could complement other AIM IHT investments.

Read important documents and then apply

See five-year performance of shares mentioned above

Wealth Club aims to make it easier for experienced investors to find information on – and apply for – tax-efficient investments. You should base your investment decision on the provider's documents and ensure you have read and fully understand them before investing. This review is a marketing communication. It is not advice or a personal or research recommendation to buy the investment mentioned. It does not satisfy legal requirements promoting investment research independence and is thus not subject to prohibitions on dealing ahead of its dissemination.

The details

Portfolio size
£33.3 million
Average market cap
£625.8 million
Initial charge
500.0%
Saving via Wealth Club
-
Net initial charge
500.0%
AMC
1.25%
Last updated: 29 April 2022

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