Business casts its wish list for 2017

2016, what a year! For some a great year for change, for others a year they want to put behind them.

Marcus Stuttard, head of UK Primary Markets and AIM, London Stock Exchange, said there are thousands of inspiring fast growing companies in Yorkshire and across the country

Regardless of your take on 2016, one thing is certain: the year ahead is going to be just as unpredictable.

I’ve asked the great and the good of the business world and public markets what is on the top of their wish lists for 2017. For me? I’d love to see city editors of the UK national newspapers providing more space for smaller growing businesses.

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Roger Lawson, deputy chairman, ShareSoc (UK Individual Shareholders Society): “That the Government will legislate to ensure all shareholders get a vote by being on the share register (i.e. even those in nominee accounts). In other words, properly enfranchised with all the rights of shareholders, not some dubious second hand system that we currently have (even where the brokers bother and most don’t).”

Tim Ward, chief executive, Quoted Companies Alliance: “I would like to see more policies and incentives to channel investment into small cap funds. This would enable more money, more investment, more growth, more productivity, more jobs, more wealth for all.”

Nigel Rogers, executive chairman, Surgical Innovations Group: “Wise leadership based on sound and considered judgement, not only for the UK, but especially across the EU and wider world.”

John Samuel, finance director, Renew Holdings: “Renew’s operations are UK focused and geared to infrastructure renewal and maintenance, so the big talking points of Brexit and infrastructure investment are less relevant, but what all businesses want is clarity and a future which, whilst not without risk, is at least defined from a macro-economic strategic perspective.The autumn statement was a masterful non-statement and the most recent pronouncement of the possibility of an extended gradual migration from the EU is worse than a clear decision. Trade agreement models exist around the world. They can be implemented rapidly and I fear we are progressing down the route of ‘exit by a thousand cuts’.”

Will Richardson, senior partner PwC (Leeds): “One thing is clear; Brexit will be a long process and my wish for 2017 is that businesses across our

region will carry on as normal and be confident that they can work through this and take advantage of the uncertainties it will present. Yorkshire has great strengths and it is these that will see it through this economic uncertainty. I hope that our region will come together, grasp the opportunities and enforce that ‘can do’ attitude to allow businesses in Yorkshire to weather any storm and continue to look to the future with optimism.”

Rob Smith, CEO, Filtronic: “My wish is that we will be bold and invest in the infrastructure that will underpin a world class economy as it is time to start implementing decisions. Major upgrades are needed to the fibre broadband network, 4G/LTE infrastructure as well as ratification of the third runway at Heathrow and HS2 go ahead. Not only will the economy benefit from infrastructure spending per se but the lasting benefit of these investments will be to put the UK in a far more competitive position.”

Marcus Stuttard, head of UK Primary Markets and AIM, London Stock Exchange: “There are thousands of inspiring fast growing companies in Yorkshire and across the country. Our hope for 2017 is that they have access to the knowledge and support they need to identify the best funding opportunities available. Huge progress has already been made to diversity the UK funding system, from seed capital through to the public markets and this year it has been fantastic to see businesses such as LoopUp Group, Autins and Van Elle Holdings join AIM having received early stage

support from TechCity UK, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and London Stock Exchange’s ELITE programme. Together we are making great progress in connecting companies to capital at every stage in their growth-cycle, in turn supporting the wider UK economy.”

Not many City advisers can claim to have been a Vatican DJ and the first and (probably) last person to play Jimi Hendrix on Vatican Radio.

Mr McManus began his career as an English voice broadcaster for Vatican Radio in Rome before joining City PR firm Binns & Co. In 2009 he founded Walbrook PR, which provides financial PR and investor relations advice to smaller growing companies.

Walbrook advises over 65 small cap and AIM listed companies valued from £5m up to £250m including Yorkshire-based companies like Animalcare, Filtronic, Mobile Tornado, OptiBiotix and Renew Holdings.