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Venture Capital Trust (VCT)


A Venture Capital Trust (VCT) is a type of publicly listed closed-end fund found in the United Kingdom. It is designed to provide private equity capital for small expanding companies and offers tax relief to individuals who purchase new shares in these trusts. The trusts use the pooled funds to invest in such small companies, often early-stage or startups, in return for a minority stake.


Venture Capital Trust (VCT) phonetically is pronounced as “ven-cher kap-i-tuhl truhst”

Key Takeaways

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  1. Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) are investment companies that are listed on the London Stock Exchange and are specifically designed to provide private equity capital for small expanding companies and income (in dividends) and/or capital gains for investors.
  2. VCTs offer multiple tax advantages to investors, including relief from income tax on the amount subscribed, exemption from tax on any dividends received from the VCT, and any capital gains tax due from disposals of shares in the VCT.
  3. Investing in VCTs carries a risk as it involves investing in small companies, which may not succeed, and a potentially illiquid investment. But it also offers a chance for significant returns, as these small firms have the potential for rapid growth.

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Venture Capital Trust (VCT) is a crucial concept in business finance as it pertains to a type of publicly listed closed-end fund formed to provide private equity capital for small expanding companies and capital gains to investors. VCTs are important because they play a significant role in nurturing small businesses and startups by providing them with the necessary funding to grow and expand. It also offers opportunities for investors to directly engage in the growth story of those companies, yielding potential high returns on their investment. Furthermore, they offer attractive tax incentives to encourage investments in small businesses, thereby driving innovation and economic growth.


Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) serve a vital role in the broader finance and business landscape, primarily by fostering and investing in the growth of early-stage companies. These novel, often high-risk businesses typically possess strong potential for technological innovation and disruptive market impact, but may be disadvantaged by limited operational histories or lack of collateral assets. In offering such enterprises much-needed funding, VCTS enable them to further develop their innovative products, scale their operations, enhance their market competitiveness, or replenish their working capital. This capacity to drive the growth of fledgling businesses makes VCTs instrumental in nurturing the development of new industries and technologies.In addition to supporting early-stage businesses, VCTs also offer notable advantages to their investors. Investing in a VCT can provide substantial tax relief, which may include income tax reduction, capital gains tax exemption, and inheritance tax benefits. These economic incentives are designed to offset the higher risk and longer investment timeframes typically associated with venture capital investing. Simultaneously, they encourage individuals and institutions to contribute to the funding of prospective high-growth companies. As such, in augmenting the flow of capital toward early-stage businesses and drawing investors with fiscal advantages, VCTs play a crucial role in stimulating economic growth and innovation in the broader business landscape.


1. Octopus Titan VCT: This is the UK’s largest Venture Capital Trust and have supported a number of potentially high-growth companies. Some of their more successful investments include the digital banking app provider Monzo, the digital gift company Secret Escapes and the AI Data Science platform causaLens. 2. Albion Venture Capital Trust: This is one of the oldest VCTs in the UK, operational since the 1990s. They offer valuable financial backing to young and growing companies that are not listed on the stock exchange. They have invested in companies across several sectors including health, software, and services like MyOptique, an online optical store. 3. ProVen Growth and Income VCT: Managed by Beringea, the ProVen Growth and Income VCT have invested in a range of successful ventures, including Watchfinder, a platform for buying, selling and exchanging premium pre-owned timepieces, Blis, a global leader in location data technology, and My 1st Years, a personalized baby gifting brand.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Venture Capital Trust (VCT)?

A Venture Capital Trust (VCT) is a publicly listed, closed-end fund governed in the United Kingdom. It is designed to provide private equity capital for small, expanding companies and offers various tax advantages to investors prepared to take on the additional risk associated with such investments.

How does a VCT work?

VCTs pool the funds of investors to inject capital into small and burgeoning companies that generally are not quoted on the stock market. In return, investors in VCTs get income tax relief, tax-free dividends, and exemption from capital gains tax subject to maintaining their investment for a minimum period.

What are the tax benefits associated with VCTs?

VCTs come with several tax benefits. In addition to a 30% income tax relief on investments up to £200,000 per tax year (provided the VCT is held for at least five years), there are no capital gains tax payable on any gains, and any dividends are tax-free.

What are the risks involved in investing in a VCT?

The main risk of VCT investments is the lack of liquidity associated with the investment in smaller, less established companies. These enterprises often face higher risk of failure, and even if they succeed, it may take a longer time for investors to realise their gains. VCTs’ share price can also be volatile, and there is no guarantee of dividends.

Can I sell my VCT shares whenever I want?

Technically, yes, you can sell VCT shares at any time. However, because VCTs are designed for long-term investments, any selling of shares within five years will cause a loss of the 30% income tax relief. Also, VCTs are less liquid investments meaning it might be challenging to find a buyer when you want to sell.

How can I invest in a VCT?

You can invest in a VCT via a stock broker or a financial adviser. It’s crucial to seek professional advice and thoroughly understand the VCT investment landscape, given the level of risk involved.

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