Finely crafted investments



Amati VCT Investor Day

Posted by Jason Rolf on 25/Jun/2015

Thursday 25th June saw Amati Global Investors return to the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in the City of London.

The day started with AGMs for both Amati VCTs giving shareholders the opportunity to meet the Directors themselves and also to put questions to the fund managers directly. During a short break, CEO Dr Paul Jordan gave the attendees an insight into the team's investment process including how "seasoning" can determine a successful outcome supported by some fascinating work carried out by finance academics Dimson and Marsh.

After refreshments, attendees filed back into Guildhall Theatre 2 where Amati fund manager Douglas Lawson gave some analysis of the VCT portfolios in terms of various valuation metrics reflecting profitability and growth. In particular he looked at the portfolio PEG ratio, which compares the earnings multiple (p/e) to the growth rate of a business.

The audience were then treated to presentations from Crawshaw Butchers and Accesso, two current Amati VCT investee companies who had kindly offered to give an insight into their businesses:

Crawshaw Butchers

Noel Collett, the recently appointed CEO of butcher Crawshaw Group PLC was first up and talked the audience through the future plans for this popular, 22 retail-outlet butcher which offers both raw meat and hot cooked food. Drawing on his experience at Lidl UK, he said Crawshaw were looking towards growing to 200 stores by mid-2023 using "quality, value and variety" to drive the business. In line with this strategy, they have recently launched 10 new shops in an around the Midlands and North of England including a factory shop at the head office in Rotherham.


Accesso's patented and innovative technology supports some of the world's top attractions including theme parks, water parks, zoos and sporting events. CEO Tom Burnett started his thoroughly entertaining talk by emphasising that Accesso was "not just a queue-tech firm but now one of the biggest theme-park ticketing companies in the world" and that their continual focus on clients need had been reflected with over 3m customers downloading the new mobile app, helping drive new sources of revenue. Incredibly high levels of service and rapid deployment of software underpin the ongoing success of this well run company.

Amati Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs' Award

After another welcome refreshment break it was soon time for the 2nd annual Amati Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs' Award and some opening remarks from last year's worthy winner "Drum Works". Project manager Jenny Beer gave an update on the fantastic progress made in the last 12 months including performances at the Aldeburgh Festival in June and more planned over the summer and the successful use of drumming to inspire young people to become more confident and creative in their future lives.

With only 20 minutes to present their proposals, the 3 finalists stepped forward to face a stern panel of judges chaired by Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen (Chairman of RADA and theatre owner-manager), and including Ann Cottis (former PWC partner), Brian Scouler (Amati VCT Director), Chris Moorsom (Amati VCT2 Director).

The finalists themselves were carefully chosen from participants in this year's Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs Course, which aims to support alumni and staff in setting up their own businesses or social enterprises and develop entrepreneurial skills. Run alongside Cause4 and under the guidance of Director of Academic Affairs, Helena Gaunt, the scheme runs for an intensive 12-month period during which alumni have access to mentoring and coaching, office space, networks, events and the all important seed-funding to get some of these fabulous ideas off the ground.

Docklands Sinfonia

Head of the Junior Guildhall's brass dept, conductor Spencer Down founded Docklands Sinfonia in London's East End in 2009 to bring "high quality music and ground-breaking concerts to inspire generations of young people". With a love of music born from listening to his docker grandfather playing the trumpet, Spencer has taken his orchestra to great heights including recordings with Katie Melua and performances at Buckingham Palace, Royal Albert Hall and on BBC 1 and BBC Radio 3.

Turn of Phrase

Created in 2013 by actor Tim Allsop and actress Francesca Wilding, Turn of Phrase is a modern communications company aiming to give people the skills, power and freedom to speak publically. A genuine disrupter, their core proposal is to do this by "encouraging cultural change in gender perceptions, breaking stereotypes through practical and imaginative approach".

An interesting angle is the use of data and the latest academic research to support this holistic approach in addition to creating a fun and rewarding learning environment.

Bach to Baby

Formed by the husband and wife team of Miaomiao and Jo Silmon-Clyde, Bach to Baby is market-leading classical concert series for babies and young children. Using outstanding musicians and with a broad range of music from Bach, Barber, Chopin and Shostakovich the business now runs over 30 concerts monthly across London and the South-East.

Addressing the niche market of baby-friendly concerts, they now run the 4 year-old business as a franchise alongside running their own concerts within London itself. Focussing on using only the best artists and creating a warm and welcoming environment (including excellent coffee !) has cemented Baby to Bach's position as the dominant provider of classical music concerts for babies and their parents in London and beyond.

And the winner is.......Docklands Sinfonia !!

We would like to thank all of the people who attended the day including the wonderful staff at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama.