RC Brown is a boutique investment management business with £360 million of assets under management, including £35.5 million within the AIM IHT service (June 2023).

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 the same investment strategy the business has followed for 30 years through its other mandates, including the IFSL RC Brown 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 £20,000 – 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 ISA Transfer 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.

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 manages £360 million on behalf of its clients, with £35.5 million invested within the AIM IHT portfolio service (June 2023).

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

Oliver has over 17 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 20 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 wholly owned subsidiary of RC Brown Investment Management PLC) which will hold your shares on your behalf.

Meet the manager: Watch our interview with manager Oliver Brown

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), as well as participating in secondary offers by existing shareholders. 

The company has followed this strategy since it was founded in 1990, adopting it in both its unit trust, IFSL RC Brown UK 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. Offers 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.

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.

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 £461 million and around 60% of the assets in the service are invested in businesses with market capitalisations greater than £250 million (June 2023). 

The charts below shows the portfolio sector breakdown for the top 10 sectors, which together account for c.85% of the portfolio, and the market cap value distribution. 

Sector breakdown (%)

Market capitalisation breakdown (%)

Source: RC Brown, as at 30 June 2023.

Examples of portfolio companies

Elixirr-RC-Brown-AIM-ISA.jpgElixirr International

Founded in 2009, Elixirr International is a global management consultancy business. The founding team believed larger consultancies were too “impersonal”, leaving a gap in the market for a bespoke service. This strategy has helped the business attract internationally recognised clients including Bloomberg, HSBC, and luxury fashion house LVMH.

Elixirr completed its AIM IPO in July 2020, raising £20 million to fund acquisition opportunities and pay down outstanding debt. The business has made considerable progress since its IPO, increasing its client book by 72%, completing three acquisitions, and more than doubling its share price (June 2023). Past performance is not a guide to future returns. 

The AIM IHT service invested in the company at IPO. Elixirr currently has a market cap of £218.5 million (June 2023). 

Franchise-Brands-RC-Brown.jpgFranchise Brands

Franchise Brands was founded in 2008 by Stephen Hemsley and Nigel Wray. The pair have over two decades worth of experience investing in, and growing, franchise businesses having previously held senior positions at Domino’s Pizza.

Currently, the Group has 650 franchisees, split across a portfolio of nine brands. The majority provide reactive and planned essential services, such as commercial plumbing, draining, and environmental services. There is also a smaller B2C division which was put up for sale following a strategic review in January 2023. However, following a lack of adequate offers, marketing activity has since been suspended and the division remains a part of the business.

In the six months to June 2023, revenues grew 56.7% to £69.8 million. The results were attributed to good performance from the B2B division and contribution from Pirtek Europe, the Group’s largest acquisition to date. Pirtek was acquired in April 2023 in a deal valued at £212 million, its addition has doubled the size of the Group and expanded operations to 10 countries. 

Franchise Brands currently has a market cap of £325.6 million (June 2023).

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.


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. Like other IHT portfolios, this is a discretionary managed service so each portfolio is likely to be different. 

Cumulative performance since launch to 30 June 2023

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 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 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 Five years to 30 Jun 2023
RC Brown AIM IHT -6.5% -37.9% 9.5% 17.5% 23.2% n/a -21.5%

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

Source: AIM ISA managers (30 June 2023). Performance is shown net of fees, excluding initial charges, with dividends reinvested, based on the average portfolio performance across the service, except for Puma 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

Investments in this portfolio are for the long term. However, if your circumstances change, you can sell some or all of your shares, although sometimes this can take a while depending on market conditions and liquidity. In normal market conditions, RC Brown aims to fulfil withdrawal requests within 30 days but this is not guaranteed. Any amount you withdraw will no longer be IHT free. Withdrawals may result in a Capital Gains Tax liability unless held in an ISA.

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. If a service is managed by a small investment team, it could create key person risk. 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.


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 0.95%
Administration charge 0.30%
Dealing fee
Performance fee
Exit fee £5 per stock
All fees and charges are stated exclusive of VAT, which may be applicable in some cases.

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 over 30 years. 

The service has a simple and competitive fee structure, compared to other AIM ISA portfolios. The reduced minimum of £20,000 could make it a contender for this year’s ISA subscription.

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 – investments. You should base your investment decision on the offer documents and ensure you have read and fully understand them before investing. The information on this webpage is a marketing communication. It is not advice or a personal or research recommendation to buy any of the investments mentioned, nor does it include any opinion as to the present or future value or price of these investments. 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
£35.5 million
Average market cap
£461 million
Initial charge
Saving via Wealth Club
Net initial charge
Last updated: 24 August 2023

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