Investment criteria

Meeting the criteria of the Fund is not in itself sufficient condition for securing investment. Decisions to invest are made at the sole discretion of the City of London Corporation’s Social Investment Board. Decisions may be subject to conditions.
Each individual social investment is targeted to generate both a social and financial return.

Social return

Each investment must offer a well-defined and measurable social benefit which can be achieved within the term of the investment. Investees must be capable and willing to provide regular updates on the social benefit achieved throughout the term of the investment.

Financial return

Each individual investment must offer a minimum return of 2%.
The overall fund is seeking a return of 2.7%
There is no set financial return, above the minimum requirement, or set repayment term, it is dependent on the nature of the investment and the social impact it can achieve.

Size of Investment

Although there is not a set policy on a minimum size of an investment, it is practically difficult to invest in opportunities of less than £100,000 due to the costs associated with any investment, such as due diligence.

We are actively looking at how we can support charitable organisations looking for lower levels of social investment.

Eligibility for investment

The Fund will consider both direct investments (providing returnable funds to organisations which pursue charitable, community or social objectives) and indirect investments (into funds managed by others in order to reach a greater number of charities and social enterprises).

Direct investments

Eligibility for direct investment will be restricted to those organisations that:

  • Have a financially viable business plan which shows how revenue will be generated to repay the investment; it will also have clearly articulated social impact;
  • Have strong management and governance;
  • Have a clear exit strategy / end term for the investment to be repaid.

Direct investments will normally be made for purposes of either: service expansion; organisational development; purchase of property or other capital items that support service delivery.

In addition to making direct investments in organisations that are registered with the Charity Commission or Community Interest Company Regulator, direct investments can also be made in for-profit social sector organisations where the organisation’s governance embodies and protects its social mission by:

  • Setting out objects in its constitutional documents that are primarily concerned with the provision of benefits to society;
  • Having a policy in relation to the distribution of profit after tax that ensures surpluses are principally used to achieve social objectives. Practically this means that the payout of cumulative profit after tax to shareholders will be capped at 50% over time, and therefore ensures that any surpluses generated over time will be mainly:

i. reinvested in the business;
ii. applied in advancement of the organisation’s social objects; or
iii. distributed or donated to other social sector organisations;

  • Having a constitutional or contractual lock on its social objects, dividend and surplus distribution policy and ensuring the disposal of assets is compatible with the social objects embedded in its constitutional documents;
  • Demonstrating that the remuneration of its officers and employees, including salaries, benefits and all forms of distribution or other participation is disclosed in a manner consistent with the Statement of Recommended Practice for accounting by charities;
  • Making best efforts to preserve the social purpose or social mission of the organisation in the event of a change of ownership or control.

 

Indirect investments

Investment can be made in funds managed by others where those funds:

  • Have charitable, community or social benefit and clearly articulated social returns;
  • Show that the distribution of profits generated by the funds are capped to investors;
  • Make available to investors on a regular basis, an assessment of the fund’s performance in social and financial terms.

 

 

UK / International beneficiaries

In line with the Corporation’s commitment to build the UK social investment market, most investments made from the Fund will be allocated towards work that benefits communities in the UK. Over the £20m, the Fund will seek to allocate:

  • 90% of its total value to benefit UK-based beneficiaries
  • 10% of its total value to benefit international beneficiaries

 

Further information

If you do not meet the above criteria, but would like more information on social investment and other funding opportunities, please visit the Big Society Capital website.