You are here

Transparency: Big Society Capital deal-level data

One of the commitments we made in our transparency proposals was the publication of historical deal-level data up to September 2015. Today we are able to publish that data, which includes deals made or facilitated by fund managers, banks and other intermediaries who have received capital from Big Society Capital.

We are very grateful for the support these intermediaries have provided for the initiative and their efforts to share data. We hope this publication will be the first step in improving transparency in the social investment market. Looking down the list, there is wide range of organisations taking on investments, as well as the range of outcome areas they’re working in and investment amounts.

It is important to note that this exercise is about transparency rather than publication of perfect data for analysis and we were encouraged by our stakeholders to “get the data out” rather than wait until the data is of utmost rigour. As the social investment market is still in its early stages, there are few standards for reporting information and therefore a number of important caveats to the data that might prevent perfect comparability and data analysis:  

  • There will be some overlap between the data as some of the deals arranged by ClearlySo would have received investment from some of the funds.

  • We have asked fund managers, banks and other intermediaries to provide the contract signing date to capture all investments that are available to charities and social enterprises to access. This is not always the date captured by the fund managers and other intermediaries and therefore the data contains a mix of committee approval dates and contract signing dates.

  • We have chosen to capture the value of the investment commitment at the point of investment committee approval. In some investments the value drawn down by the charity or social enterprise varies from the initial commitment and we were unable to capture that information.

  • We have chosen three categories for type of security (full, partial, none) which we recognise do not capture the nuances in the type of security arrangements in deals. A number of our unsecured loan funds take debentures but the risk is effectively unsecured as there would be low or no asset cover in distressed situations.

  • A number of our funds, banks and arrangers do not classify the loans they have made according to Big Society Capital’s Outcome Matrix and we have therefore had to match with those categories which may not be a perfect alignment. Additionally many charities and social enterprises tackle a range of social issues and therefore have several outcome areas next to their name.

  • The purpose of investment is split into three categories asset, acquisition and working capital. We refer to working capital as both capital to grow and capital to bridge income.

  • The deals collected are those completed up to September 2015.

Although we do not want to provide a narrative for the data and let others interpret it, there are a number of themes we wanted to draw out:

  • Firstly, the data represents a small sub section of the social investment market and over time we hope to build it up, bringing other social investors to input their data and provide a fuller picture of social investment activity.  For example, fund managers such as Key Fund, CAF Venturesome and Big Issue Invest have made social investments in to thousands of organisations but had not received investment from Big Society Capital at the point of data collection.  Similarly we have only included community shares or charity bonds which have involved our capital rather than the full list of activity.  In the New Year we will aim to produce a better estimate of the total size of the social investment market by aggregating all existing sources.

  • Secondly, the current data is weighted to larger charities and social enterprises.  In conjunction with the Big Lottery Fund, we have recently launched the £45m Growth Fund with the Access Foundation to help redress this balance.  The Growth Fund will invest in fund managers providing loans (often with a grant) of less than £150,000.   Also relevant is our current work on Social Investment Tax Relief including our GET SITR campaign and the Crowd Match Fund.

  • Lastly investments in to property funds to assist service delivery are about a quarter of the value Big Society Capital’s investment commitments to date but a greater portion of the value of investments in this data set.  This is partly as we have found more co-investors for our property funds so the multiplier on our investment is higher, and also that our property commitments have invested faster.  A good example here is the Resonance Real Lettings Fund which provides move-on accommodation for homeless individuals and families for the charity St Mungo’s.  This fund launched in 2013 and has fully invested its £56m, with £41m of co-investors to Big Society Capital’s £15m commitment.

In the future, we collect additional pricing information from fund managers and depending on the quality of the data received, share key insights on pricing trends and drivers to provide greater clarity to charities and social enterprises looking to raise investment.

We are very excited about making this information public and hope as this data-set progresses over time it will help charities and social enterprise engage with social investment, fund managers to demonstrate their work and new investors coming into this space have better visibility over the market activity. Our role as an investor is only half of our role and we have recently also published the work we do as a market champion.

If you are a social investor and your data is not here but you would like to include it please contact Daria Kuznetsova.


Last updated | 
22 December 2015


Add new comment