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We Ask 3 Financial Planning Experts: What Are The Benefits of Being an EISA Member?

We asked three financial planning professionals to give us their views on the benefits of EISA membership, and why they have or haven’t joined yet.

This is the fourth part in a series of interviews with financial planners regarding EIS and SEIS – you can read the third part, covering the impact the Autumn Budget and the PCR could have on EIS, here.


Our experts:


Ewoud Karelse

Ewoud Karelse is Head of Tax Advantaged Investments at Tilney, responsible for research and selection of VCTs, SEIS, EIS, and IHT Business Relief qualifying investments for use by Tilney Financial Planners and Investment Managers. Ewoud also writes VCT research for Bestinvest.

Declan McAndrew

Declan McAndrew is Head of Investment Research at Foster Denovo, where his emphasis is on advising the firm’s IFA partners on two broad business types: private clients, for whom EIS may be particularly suitable, and larger clients such as pension schemes and charities. Currently focused on developing Foster Denovo’s overarching investment proposition.

Neil Cole

Neil Cole is the Director of Wealth Planning Product Development & Management at UBS Wealth Management. He has individual responsibility for the tax efficient investment world, focused on EIS, VCTs, inheritance tax, ISAs, and other relevant product types, and provides recommendations to UBS IFAs on which of these products should be offered.


What are the benefits of being an EISA member?



EISA is an excellent resource – the updates in particular. For example, I received an update on MiFID II recently, which was very useful. Here at Tilney, we actually have a team for producing those kinds of updates and reports, but for most IFAs, that kind of facility is not an option. Where can they get their information? Well, EISA is a good place to start. They are doing a great job on providing IFAs with information on MiFID II  and other areas – the FCA; Europe; and HMRC for example – particularly compared to other associations.

At the EISA meetings and seminars, it is really good to hear not just technical updates but to see other people and other providers in the industry – accountants, lawyers, digital providers, other IFAs and firms that are members. It is an excellent opportunity to share stories and exchange information.

That said, I would like to see more, bigger case studies. An investment is only a good investment when you have your money back and then some – we need to show IFAs, who are not currently using EIS as much as they could, the kind of returns that are possible and the impact these small companies like Push Doctor can have.


I’m not currently a member – as currently EIS is a fairly small part of our business. However, I’m aware that if we took the time to engage with it more, we would be able to receive a deeper understanding of the opportunities. There’s always scope to do more EIS, and if there’s a big crackdown on tax relief in the Autumn budget, then the relative attractiveness of EIS will change.


The key benefit for me is really the networking – particularly the contacts that are available on the provider side. It’s good to have an access point into the different managers that are raising capital. It is also useful to have a point of contact with other intermediaries, other IFAs, and more generally other people who are part of the sector. EISA does bring those people together. I’ve also had quite a few direct approaches from people who said they’ve found me via the EISA directory – so that’s also a useful networking tool.

I’ve taken the Diploma also, which I thought was very good, particularly for getting an understanding of how EIS works in terms the structure of the product and the tax release. I would have liked to have seen more detail perhaps on the investment content and the types of businesses that it’s possible to back. Case studies would bring it to life more.

On that topic, I do think EISA should be shouting more whenever there’s an exit. Love Home Swap is a good example from recent months. When a successful exit like this occurs, I’d like to see EISA promoting the fact more widely that a good quality EIS manager has done a great deal and successfully exited it.


Find out more about joining EISA.