The UK’s Big Society Capital, the world’s first wholesale social investment financier, is now coming up to its fourth birthday. During this time it has faced intense scrutiny due in part to having a lot of money (an estimated £400m from dormant bank accounts and £200m in equity bank finance) and strong government support. In response to the attention it has engaged with its stakeholders and towards the end of last year announced a transparency commitment, releasing historical deal-level data up to September 2015.
Big Society Capital has stressed the data is not perfect, explaining it has listened to stakeholders who urged it to “get the data out”. But despite the gaps it is a fascinating read.
It provides data in a spreadsheet on four types of deals – loans, social impact bonds, equity and property. And it breaks down a rich array of information on these including the investor, investee, target social outcome like preventing homelessness, target beneficiary such as the elderly, where the beneficiary is based, if the investment is secured, and the amount committed where available.There are just over 310 deals in total, the majority being loans, while 36 deals concern social impact bonds (SIBs). The main investor in these SIB deals is Big Society Capital and Bridges Ventures, which runs a pooled social impact bond fund, backed by the likes of the European Investment Fund and Greater Manchester Investment Fund.
The target social outcome of the SIV deals are varied from employment, training to housing and well-being, but the target beneficiary is mainly vulnerable young people. None of the deals are secured and the highest deal amount disclosed is £0.5m invested in a social impact bond to help vulnerable kids.
This dataset represents only a small sub section of the social investment market in the UK, though Big Society Capital hopes to build the dataset to include other social investors and their deals. It’s a good start to help develop a picture of how the market in the UK is developing. Link