North East based Managing Director of successful film finance and distribution agency Goldfinch Entertainment Kirsty Bell, who is personally accredited with raising over 200 million pounds for the industry, gives her view on the growing number of articles causing panic and confusion within the EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) and Entertainment industries. Kirsty, who founded Goldfinch Entertainment, is both a successful film producer and Chartered Tax Advisor running her company in London and her North East home closely. Bell’s combined expertise has enabled her to focus on the structuring of film companies and their finances and gives her view on the contentious topic.
Kirsty Bell quoted “Speculation on the future of EIS/SEIS and film has rocked the already precarious boat of film investment and it’s important to act quickly to quell fears within the industry. Making films is already an expensive and almighty task to accomplish, made even more difficult due to the perception of film as an investment class. We know about this perception all too well at Goldfinch and have heard many horror stories in our three and a half years of trading. But what is evident and incredibly positive is that investors DO want to invest in this asset class and we see it as our duty to advise and protect their interests and money, starting with the simple things like ensuring the EIS vehicle has a qualifying trade and is commercially viable”.
Bell continues “HMRC’s apparent backtracking in this space is perhaps a knee jerk reaction to their dealings with some of the well known characters within our industry. However they should be careful to protect the baby from being thrown out with the bathwater, and to ensure that entrepreneurs can still invest through plain vanilla SEIS and EIS into relevant businesses in the Film (and media) space. Weeding out the chaff of ‘proper’ businesses with real risk is a non sequitur as far as EIS and SEIS is concerned – but to deny an entire asset class a helping hand in encouraging investors to be involved in the early stages of their trading is simply crazy, and will ensure that the entire sector will forever be unable to shake off the ‘film scheme’ reputation and memories it has begun to emerge from”.
“Goldfinch rigorously vet all projects to ensure the businesses and projects are both viable and commercial to stand the best chance of turning a profit in a difficult international marketplace and Goldfinch’s view is that to deny these reliefs is foolhardy and unnecessary. Kirsty Bell continues “this will harm an industry that supplies so much to our GDP and keeps us not only as one of the top global destinations for film makers, but is recognised as a centre of excellence for the Independent film makers. HMRC should be extending the reliefs of EIS and SEIS for those that pass more stringent tests in ALL asset classes, singling out film as the offender is wrong on so many levels”.
Kirsty Bell is a director of the 2018 Newcastle Film Festival in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, which set to be a four day event from March 29th to April 1st, with films across all genres showcased. Kirsty is working alongside President, MBE and fellow entrepreneur Jacqui Miller-Charlton. The film festival has already attracted entries from over 80 countries around the world, with ambassadors and directors in the industry from across the globe. Kirsty lives in Gosforth in the North East of England, operating Goldfinch Entertainment from their London offices.