Ingenious Shelley Media EIS

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The Ingenious Shelley Media EIS invests in companies developing and producing independent film and television content. These typically benefit from distributor pre-sales, film-related tax incentives and completion bonds, providing downside protection. Most recent successes from the portfolio include BATFA award-winning films Mr Turner and Locke plus Oscar nominated films Brooklyn and Carol.


  • Media EIS investing in high quality film and TV companies
  • Downside protection provided through pre-sales, production insurance and completion bonds
  • Target annual returns of between 7% and 16% after EIS tax relief (not guaranteed)
  • Ingenious is one of the largest and most experienced fund managers in UK film industry
  • Exit expected in 3½–4½ years (not guaranteed)
  • Advance assurance received
  • Minimum investment £10,000

The offer

The manager is Ingenious Media, part of Ingenious Capital Management Limited. It is the UK’s leading media EIS provider. 

Ingenious Media has raised and deployed over £8 billion in the UK film industry over the last 19 years. £350m has been raised by Shelley Media in total since launch. 

The British Film Institute reports that the UK film industry directly contributed £5.2 billion to the UK’s Gross Domestic Product in 2015. The UK government supports the industry by providing film production tax credits to make the country an attractive location for international rights owners. Every £1 given in film tax relief generates £12 for the economy.

Investee companies enter into a production and sale agreement for the sale of a project to an established distributor. A production partner is appointed to make the project. Investee companies will share in copyright and own the legal assets of the production until the point of sale which provides some security should things not go to plan. There is good downside protection but this means there is limited upside potential. 

The investment team will be responsible for sourcing, arranging and managing the underlying investments. It backs projects where there is a high level of contractual pre-sales and government tax incentives, working with blue chip producers and distribution partners, such as BBC Films and StudioCanal. 

The manager’s senior team combines private equity investment disciplines, legal expertise and in-depth industry knowledge. The key people are:

  • Patrick McKenna, founder of the Ingenious Group and previously a partner at Deloitte where he headed up their media division. Patrick is the chairman of several companies in the sector including award-winning television company Hat Trick Productions. He is a Fellow of the RSA and a member of BAFTA.
  • Neil Forster, CEO of Ingenious Capital Management Ltd. Previous roles include Group Finance Director at Hat Trick Productions and Head of Finance for the EMEA sales arm of Walt Disney’s television business. Neil is on the committee of the ICAEW’s Media and Entertainment Special Interest Group.
  • Stephen Fuss, Senior Investment Director. His remit is to oversee all the independent film and TV activities whilst also focusing on sourcing and evaluating suitable film and TV projects. Prior to joining Ingenious in 2009, Stephen was a lawyer in the entertainment industry at both Denton Wilde Sapte and DLA Piper.
  • Charles Auty, Managing Director for Shelley Media EIS. He joined Ingenious in 2005 and has significant experience within the film business, including running and selling a successful post production business and working as a lawyer in the industry for several years.

Target return 

Shelley Media targets an annual return of 7% to 16% (not guaranteed). This is after EIS tax relief and net of all fees paid to the manager. Capital is at risk. Based on previous tranches of the Shelley Media EIS, tax relief has formed much of the return. Without it, the returns may not be positive.


The usual risks with unquoted companies exist with this EIS offer. For instance, EIS investments are illiquid and capital is at risk. Investors should only invest money they are prepared to lose. Key risks include:

Dependence on tax relief. Tax rules can change. EIS schemes have come under Treasury review recently. A change to EIS tax rules could make this investment less attractive. The value of tax relief will depend on the circumstances of the individual investor and tax rules could change in future. Should the government stop supporting the film industry with industry incentives and tax credits, fewer feature films and television programmes could be produced profitably and the current investment strategy would not hold up. 

The production cost may exceed its budget. In order to mitigate this risk, investee companies will put in place production-related insurances.

Operational risk. The investee company may fail to produce the project in line with expectations and timetable. To mitigate this risk, Ingenious will monitor the investee companies’ progress closely and a completion bond will be put in place. Sales forecasting is very difficult, so to help manage this uncertainty the investee company will put in place pre-sales agreements and applicable film or television tax incentives before any investment is made. There is a risk that the investee companies will not be able to find sufficient projects to achieve targeted returns and diversity.

Counterparty risk is to some degree mitigated by upfront due diligence together with industry standard insurance. In the event both the distributor and completion guarantor refused to honour the contract, the investee company could enforce security over the distribution rights of the film. Clearly if the film was not of good quality the rights would not be worth much

Please see the provider's documents for more details on the risks.


There are no fees charged direct to the investor, which means the full subscription can benefit from tax relief. Instead, all fees will be charged by the manager to the investee company. 

There is an initial fee of 5.5% through Wealth Club (a saving of 1% on the full charge of 6.5%).  The full initial fee is made up of an arrangement fee of 1.5% and an initial monitoring fee of 5%. There is an annual monitoring fee of 1.5%. The annual depositary fee will be around 0.075% of the net asset value of the shares, and there will be a custodian fee of £25 fee per investor plus 0.1% per annum. 

A performance fee of 20% is paid on returns over £1.03 on £1 invested. So, for example, if £1.05 was delivered the manager would receive 20% of the 2p surplus. 

There are separate administration and transaction fees levied on the investee companies. Please see the provider's documents, including the Key Information Document, for more details on fees.

Our view

Ingenious has an impressive track record of investing in this industry and carefully selects blue chip counterparties to work with and only accepts projects with contracted pre-sales. 

The profit margins for projects of this nature appear to be slim and are bolstered by the advantages of EIS tax relief and other industry tax credits. Based on previous performance of the fund, investors do need EIS tax relief to make this viable and achieve a positive overall return.

Ingenious is involved in a long-running dispute with HMRC over some of its legacy film tax schemes. Recently, HMRC reportedly issued an order for investors to pay back millions of pounds in taxes. The issues relate to film production companies that we understand are unconnected to Ingenious’ current EIS and IHT offers.

Wealth Club aims to highlight investments we believe have merit, but you should form your own view. You should decide based 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. 08.12.2017

The details

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