Foresight, based on Level 23 of The Shard, is a leading independent infrastructure and private equity investment manager. It has more than £2.3bn of assets under management spread across 20 funds including Listed Vehicles, Limited Partnerships, Enterprise Investment Schemes (EISs) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs).
Formed in 1984, Foresight's reputation was initially built by delivering strong performance for our investors by focusing on unquoted investments in the UK. As they have grown, their investment approach has since evolved to encompass private equity, infrastructure and environmental investments in the UK, US and Southern Europe.
In 1997, Foresight raised one of the first Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and has since raised several more VCTs, taking over the management of a number of others to become one of the largest VCT managers in the UK, managing over £230 million through five VCTs. These funds invest in a broad range of sectors and transaction types and include some of the best performing of their respective vintages.
“With the recent rapid growth in our business, both in staff numbers and in assets under management, the opportunity to relocate to the Shard has been compelling. The office space offers a blend of modernity and efficiency and we believe these factors will be a great asset as we continue to grow our business.”
Having recognised the investment potential in the renewable energy and recycling sectors at an early stage, Foresight monitored developments and in 2006 started investing in the environmental sector in the UK. With growing support from UK and European legislation and increasing public awareness, Foresight has since raised a number of dedicated environmental funds.
In 2007, Foresight raised and launched the Sustainable UK Investments Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Fund, while in 2011, Foresight Environmental Fund (FEF) raised £60 million from UK and international institutional investors, including the London Green Fund in part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWaRB) to invest in renewable energy and recycling projects in the London area.
In April 2012, Foresight was appointed by UK Green Investments, a team within the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), now the Green Investment Bank (GIB), to manage £50 million (subsequently increased to £68 million) of an initial £80 million investment fund set aside by UK Government to invest in green infrastructure.
With growing knowledge and experience of the renewable energy sector, in 2009 €35m was raised from private individuals for the Foresight European Solar Fund, which made its first investment in the solar infrastructure sector in Spain. The European solar markets have since grown rapidly and Foresight established an office in Rome through which a number of joint ventures and managed accounts have been established with major European institutional investors to develop new and acquire existing solar plants in southern Europe. Since 2011, Foresight has successfully raised some £485m through Foresight Solar VCT, Foresight Solar EIS funds 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 and the successful IPO and subsequent initial placing of Foresight Solar Fund Limited for investment in UK solar infrastructure.
In the UK, the infrastructure team has broadened its activities beyond solar to include investment in other infrastructure, such as acquiring contracts under the Private Finance Initiative and energy efficiency projects. In 2011, Foresight launched its innovative Infrastructure VCT shares class, which raised £33m from private investors, and has subsequently invested in eight PFI projects comprising 14 schools and hospital projects across the UK.