Risk warning: The value of investments and derived income can fall. Investors may get back less than they invested.

New record – 131 Investor Visas granted in Q1 2019

By Farzin Yazdi – Head of Investor Visa at Shard Capital.

Today’s data release reminds me of the pre Nov 2014 rush we saw ahead of the increase of minimum investment from £1m to £2m – and the results are similar too. In 2014 from Q3 to Q4 we saw numbers double. This morning’s data release show an increase of over 40% from last quarter with 131 visas granted – with nearly 60% of all applicants coming from China*. 

And what a memorable quarter it has been; with the Statement of Changes on March 7 and new rules going live on the 29th of March. 

Is Britain still open for business?

When new rules are announced, it takes time for advisors and clients to fully understand them – and their subsequent implications. This time is no different. Many are still coming to terms with the implications of showing source of wealth for 2ys.

I’ve had more than one client explain to me that their cash has only been held for a short period of time, but they will seek to apply once it has been there for 2ys! In fact, from a financial perspective nothing has changed. Immigration rules have aligned closer to those in the financial world.

Given the above, I expect a few slower quarters before a return to the mean, which I believe will be a slightly higher average as some who may have chosen the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa, may now choose the Investor Visa category.

Managing money for Investor Visa purposes is a specialist service which differs significantly from ordinary investment management; requiring detailed knowledge, expertise, and capabilities in other areas in order to achieve with the ultimate objective – to get ILR. 

Overall I welcome the new rules, and whilst not perfect, it does help to protect the UK from unscrupulous sources of wealth and bring greater economic benefit to the country.

Thank you again to all those who took part in our survey. Together we have made a difference! 

If you would like more information on the Tier 1 (Investor) Visa, or would like to discuss this ONS release, please contact Farzin Yazdi – farzin.yazdi@shardcapital.com 

Important Information

“Shard Capital LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Important information: The information above is published solely for information purposes and is not to be construed as a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any securities or related financial instruments. It does not constitute a personal recommendation as defined by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situations or needs of individual investors. The value of investments and any income from them can fall as well as rise. You may not get back the amount you invested. It should be remembered that past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of any information provided and no assurances or warranties are given. If you are unsure of the suitability of this product then you should contact and Independent Financial Adviser, authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.”

WideCells Group Plc – Operational Update

WideCells is pleased to announce an update on operations, in particular regarding its Iconic Labs new media and technology business, which is focussed on providing online marketing, content and technology driven products. 

Iconic Labs Operational Update:

Since the Iconic Labs team joined in March 2019, the Company has made strong progress in establishing its offering and building out its presence within the new media marketing space.  The team, led by John Quinlan and Liam Harrington, who were founders and key drivers behind UNILAD, the world’s largest social media publisher, has successfully tried, tested and soft launched its initial media and advertising focussed agency model. 

The Company is conducting a strategy of balancing long and short-term revenue by partnering with advertising and marketing agencies, assisting with their existing contracts, as well as pitching for larger contracts independently.  The methods of accomplishing this strategy are targeting contracts allocated to agencies that are resource or expertise constrained, joint pitching for distinct campaigns, along with a primary focus on independent pitches. 

In addition, the Company is looking at opportunities to develop social media publishing channels, whether through creation in-house or by acquisition.  Development of these publishing channels is intended not only to provide a source of revenue independent from agency and consulting revenue, but also, by providing a targeted, captive platform, to complement and enhance the strategy and consulting services.

Revenue Generation:

Significant interest and business development success has already resulted in multiple potential revenue contracts with immediate conversion prospects.  It is expected that the Company will finalise at least one such contract during May, with initial revenues being received from June. The current pipeline includes retained contracts, distinct campaigns and joint partnerships on campaign activations. 

The initial work and progress made on the sales pipeline has been highly successful.  However, the volume of work looks likely to require additional capacity and, as a result, the team is looking prudently to add members of staff to ensure that projects and engagements are developed and delivered to the exacting standards of the team.  This personnel growth will be undertaken gradually and carefully and is in line with lean cost strategy of adding personnel as revenue is generated and acquisitions are made.  Additionally, in line with the stated strategy, the Company will look to scale through appropriate acquisitions that are considered value accretive and will augment the rapid growth of the business.

Change of Name:

Progress continues to be made with the Company’s change of name to Iconic Labs Plc.  Documentation is being prepared and further announcements will be made in due course.

Operational Update: Stem Cells Business:

Despite significant efforts to restructure this part of the business and improve its viability, a number of senior staff from the stem cell business have departed and, as a result, the Company is continuing to assess its options with regards to this business, with a decision to be made imminently on its future.  The Company has already spent in excess of £900,000 in resolving legacy issues and continues to work on legacy liabilities associated with this business on an ongoing basis.

Update on European High Growth Opportunities Securitization Fund (“HGOSF”) Facility:

HGOSF remains supportive as evidenced by the inclusion of a conversion floor price mechanism as announced on 1 May 2019.  This puts a notional floor on the price of 0.4p.  Of the £1,600,000 originally announced, there is a further £500,000 potentially available under the drawdown facility.  The Company remains grateful for the support of HGOSF, without which the Company would almost inevitably have failed.  This would have led to the complete loss of shareholder equity as well as very significant losses for former employees, counterparties and contractors, against which the legacy business had no revenues or assets of any material value to be realised.

Shareholder Update:

The Company acknowledges that there have been considerable changes to the size and composition of the shareholder register over recent months and has requested a shareholder analysis to be undertaken.  The Company will update the market and website once the results of this analysis are complete.

Executive Chairman, David Sefton, said: The Company remains focussed on a cash flow driven business model with pre-identified contracts, a defined path to profitability and exceptional growth prospects.  I am delighted with the progress made already and we are well on our way to securing initial revenues which we believe, through the interest shown in our proven offering, will increase rapidly as we continue to win contracts, bring in new personnel, and build Iconic Labs market presence.

“It is also important to note that the initial traction has been generated before there has even been a formal launch of Iconic Labs and while the restructuring process is on-going.  This is clearly a testament to the team.  The new business and acquisition pipeline already generated is set to grow significantly as we broaden the commercial marketing strategy of and formally launch Iconic Labs. 

“I look forward to the completion of the restructuring, which is close, the official name change, and with the support of our investors, an exciting future for the Company.”

Chief Executive Officer, John Quinlan, said: “With just a soft launch we have already made inroads into our market and have received extremely positive feedback on our plans and offering.  We understand the space and are well placed to exploit insights, network and proprietary technology to provide online marketing and create unique content for brands.

“With first contracts in place and revenue due, we have already reached the first stage of our growth strategy.  I look forward to updating investors on our progress and would like to thank all stakeholders for their support.”


 For further information, please visit the Company’s website www.iconiclabs.co.uk or contact:

Shard Capital Partners LLP Co-broker – Damon Heath, Erik Woolgar Tel: +44 (0) 20 7186 9950
finnCap Ltd St Brides Partners Limited Co-broker – Chris Raggett, Scott Mathieson PR – Melissa Hancock, Juliet Earl Tel: +44 (0) 20 7220 0500 Tel: +44 (0) 20 7236 1177

This information is provided by RNS, the news service of the London Stock Exchange. RNS is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a Primary Information Provider in the United Kingdom. Terms and conditions relating to the use and distribution of this information may apply. For further information, please contact rns@lseg.com or visit www.rns.com


Ashley Boolell – Shard Capital Commodities – April Overview Update

Ashley Boolell, Commodities partner at Shard Capital, provides his insight on the latest commodity market developments following the release of the latest monthly report.

Watch the overview update.