Foresight Group is a global investment manager which offers both private and public investment vehicles to institutional and retail investors. Foresight Group has products in the SME finance, clean energy and infrastructure PBII pillars.

Within SME finance, Foresight has five exclusively institutional, regional private equity funds which aim to fill a funding gap for smaller companies through supporting growth and innovation in ambitious SMEs. The regional focus of the funds aims is to stimulate enterprise, create quality jobs and attract inward investment to the regions. LGPS investors in the funds include Cambridgeshire, Clwyd, Greater Manchester, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire. The Regional Funds consist of:

Foresight Nottingham Fund Up to £2m £39m 
Foresight Regional 
Investment Fund (North West of England, North Wales and South 
£1m to £5m £58m 
Foresight Midlands 
Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) Equity Finance 
Up to £2m £35m 
Foresight East of England Fund £1m to £5m £100m 
Foresight Scottish 
Growth Fund 
Up to £2m £20m 

Foresight Regional Investment LP (‘the Fund’) Case Study

The Fund makes initial equity investments of £1m-£5m in the North West of England, North Wales and South Yorkshire. It aims to deliver attractive economic returns with broader long-term benefits for regional communities by applying a professional approach to private equity investment in this underserved and relatively uncompetitive part of the market. The Fund’s region covers 36 Local Authority Districts, 19 of which fall within the top 50 most deprived areas in the country, while six make it into the top 10.

In Foresight’s experience, the incorporation of ESG principles into its investment approach enhances the delivery of commercial returns, while also generating broader longterm benefits for the regional communities in which its investee companies operate. These benefits cover a wide spectrum from environmental issues and community engagement on a macro level to specific social benefits for individuals at a micro level. Throughout the life of an investment, each company is measured against 40 KPIs related to five principles. In addition, Foresight’s investment strategy encompasses an outcome orientated approach that identifies and measures the contribution of investee companies to four societal challenges based on the Sustainable Development Goals: quality employment at scale, health, research and innovation, and sustainable infrastructure and the environment.

The Fund’s progress is mapped on an annual basis. Highlights to 31 December 2020 include:

  • £51.9m deployed to support SMEs in the region;
  • 590 quality jobs created – an average increase of 56% per company since investment;
  • 33% of the Fund’s investee companies have a female founder in their team versus the national average of 10% for PE-backed companies. Female board representation is 24%;
  • 71% of portfolio companies have established environmental policies;
  • 86% of portfolio companies have formalised diversity and inclusion policies; and
  • Portfolio companies have spent £2.6m on research and development in 2020.