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AMATI GLOBAL PARTNERS ACQUIRES NOBLE FUND MANAGERS

Amati to raise £14 million for Noble AIM VCT, the only AIM VCT to be raising new money this tax year

Amati Global Partners LLP, a new entity formed by Paul Jourdan and Douglas Lawson, today announces the completion of the acquisition of Noble Fund Managers Ltd, which manages the Noble AIM VCT and the CF Noble UK Smaller Companies Fund. The acquisition sees Noble Fund Managers re-branded as Amati Global Investors Ltd ("Amati").

The establishment of Amati signifies a long term commitment by the founders to managing both the Noble AIM VCT and the CF Noble Smaller Companies Fund. Going forward Amati is also aiming to add scale and depth to the business through broadening its range of investment products. The board of Noble AIM VCT has expressed its full support for this transaction.

Reflecting its commitment to the Noble AIM VCT, Amati is seeking to raise an additional £14 million. Amati's intention to raise further funds is testimony to the continuing success of Noble AIM VCT, which so far is the only AIM VCT to be raising new money this tax year and to have done so every year since inception. Amati CEO Paul Jourdan has managed the fund since its launch in 2004. The Noble AIM VCT is in the top quartile of AIM VCTs to have raised money during the 2004/5 tax year.

Amati believes there are a number of compelling reasons to invest in a VCT with significant market exposure at this point in the economic cycle, especially given the long-term nature of VCT investing. Amati believes the Noble AIM VCT offers a number of benefits to investors:

  • It offers investors exposure to a broad range of small and mid- sized companies quoted on both AIM and the LSE in London, but with operations in many different regions of the world. Amati believes that this is an attractive asset class for long term investors.

  • Amati has developed its own software to handle the complexity which the changes to VCT rules over the last few years have imposed on managers. As a result it can confidently handle different pools of money raised under different sets of rules and has thus far been able to allocate over 90% of funds to operate under the older, broader rules.

  • Noble AIM VCT has pioneered an enhanced buyback offer, which enables shareholders to sell shares once their minimum holding period is over at a 1% discount to NAV, where the proceeds are used to buy new shares which qualify for a further income tax relief on the basis of a new five year holding period. This is the only scheme of its type currently in the market.

  • It decided to take the initiative through the downturn in putting together deals for qualifying convertible loan investments in AIM listed companies, providing investors with downside protection as well as access to the equity upside.

Underpinning Amati's investment strategy is a commitment to approaching investment decisions with a global mindset. While conventional wisdom suggests that UK smaller companies are predominantly focused on the UK economy, many of the 1,500 or so companies listed in London have operations in almost every part of the world. At a time when the UK economy is facing significant challenges, Noble AIM VCT has gained exposure to the high growth domestic economies of China and India as well as the global natural resources sector.

Following the strong performance of the CF Noble Smaller Companies Fund during 2009, Amati will also be looking to attract further investors to this vehicle over 2010.

Paul Jourdan, CEO of Amati comments, "We're tremendously excited to have completed this acquisition. We have ambitious plans to build Amati both in terms of expanding our two existing funds and launching new products in the future. At a time when many investors are looking for an alternative to pensions for tax efficient investment, the Noble AIM VCT will appeal to those who believe that now is a great time to invest in quoted smaller companies with global exposure but with a strong defence against a double-dip recession."

Since launch in March 2005, the Noble AIM VCT has beaten its benchmark, the FTSE AIM Total Return Index, by 31.7%, giving a NAV total return of -3.6% compared to a fall of -35.3% in the benchmark. Taking account of the tax relief investors were eligible for at launch this gives an IRR in excess of 9% for investors who bought at launch (source: Tax Efficient Review).

The CF Noble UK Smaller Companies Fund was launched in 1998 and has returned 65.3% over 10 years compared to its benchmark, the RBS Hoare Govett Smaller Cos (excl-Inv Trusts, incl-AIM), which has returned 33.39% (at 31 December 2009).

There will be no change to the day-to-day investment management arrangements of Noble AIM VCT and the CF Noble UK Smaller Companies Fund resulting from this transaction.

Private investors seeking an application form for the Noble AIM VCT should contact their financial adviser. Prospectuses and application forms are available at www.amatiglobal.com or by contacting Rachel Le Derf on 0131 243 0439 or rachel.lederf@amatiglobal.com.