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Research body launched to stimulate social investment market

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31 October 2013: Big Lottery Fund, Big Society Capital, Citi, The City of London Corporation and Cabinet Office, have today jointly announced the formation of the Social Investment Research Council (the “Council”).

The Council is a coordinated initiative which draws together research commissioners from key organisations in the social investment market.

The aim of the Council is to help advance the UK social investment market through consolidating research efforts to generate powerful and practical insights for the benefit of social sector organisations and investors.

The inaugural 2013-2014 research programme will focus on improving the understanding of social investment market products, and the specific investors needed to finance them.

Over the next six months the Council will call for ideas from researchers and other industry bodies for potential projects to add to the research programme agenda.

Nick O’Donohoe, CEO of Big Society Capital, said:

“The Council will focus on projects with a potential to transform the social investment market, working in partnership to help understand what information is needed and ensure that those needs can be met.

There is a lack of information in the market about how to deliver the right kind of investment products to attract investors, and the industry must work together to commission research to help us meet this challenge.”

Citi is one of the founding members of the Council, recognising the vital need for research to inform potential investors in the sector.

Robert Annibale, Global Director, Microfinance and Community Development, Citi said:

“Investors are seeking robust information about the opportunities for social investment in what is a complex market. At present, there is limited analysis available to them compared with other industry groups. At the same time, there is a need for research to support the development of appropriate, innovative and creative tools that facilitate investments by individuals and firms. By supporting essential research with our partners on the Council, we want accelerate the growth of this important sector.”

Nat Sloane, the Big Lottery Fund England Chair said:

“This council has the potential to offer real benefits to the whole social investment market by co-ordinating research activity, enabling the members to combine resources and knowledge to focus on some of the most complex issues in the field. This very much contributes towards our aim of catalysing the social investment market in a way that supports the development and growth of VCSE organisations.”

Mark Boleat, Policy Chairman for the City of London Corporation said:

“Increased coordination in the social investment market between key commissioners is an important step forward. The Council will contribute to sustainable market development by providing high quality research on issues which are currently lacking in data.

Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society said: “The launch of the Council marks an important milestone in the Government’s commitment to building the social investment market in the UK. It is an exciting example of what can be achieved by genuine collaboration across Government, the social sector and the private sector.”

Whilst the Council has developed its initial research programme, new ideas for research are welcome and suggestions can be emailed to

Last updated | 
31 October 2013