The Bank of England has revealed that it may take the cost of borrowing below zero for the first time in its over 300-year history; following moves by Eurozone countries to introduce negative interest rates. The move could effectively mean that savers pay to have their money with banks and are incentivised to borrow money and increase their spending.
Last week also saw the first time that the Government sold bonds at a negative yield, -0.003%, meaning that investors are effectively paying the Government to hold their money for the three year period of the bond. Coupled with discussions around negative interest rates – investors may be encouraged to acquire less traditional assets in the hope of higher returns.
Luke Davis, CEO of IW Capital, discusses the implications for SME investment in the coming years:
“The Bank of England is doing all it can to encourage investors and savers to part with their cash at the moment when many are looking to hold on to as much as possible. Whether or not charges to save will be passed on to consumers remains to be seen, but it will, however, mean that incentives to save will be lower than ever. Investors have been somewhat reluctant in the past few months to make big commitments with their cash, but as lockdown eases and economic growth is prioritised by the Government, many may look to where the best opportunity lies.
As ‘safe’ assets become less and less attractive to investors with ever diminishing, and even negative, returns, we could now see a big move towards investment in businesses and more illiquid assets that also contribute to the growth of the economy. SMEs are perfectly placed to fill this gap, as opportunity for growth abounds – especially after times of economic turmoil.
Schemes such as the Enterprise Investment Scheme will be more important than ever by offering investors a tax-efficient way to back small growth businesses; reducing risk and increasing the potential for returns on investment. Investment in this sector will also be key to encouraging economic growth, with the SME arena historically employing around half of the private sector workforce and accounting for 99% of all businesses.”
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