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Looking Way Back to 2009

Most people will be happy to see the back of 2009. It was not a good year to be a banker or be in the ‘money’ space at all. A lot of Fund managers have had a very rough time although equities have had a good run in the last 12 months. As for the angel scene, it has been active mainly because other sources for funding have dried up.

This year I invested in two businesses.

I am confident though that next year I will be making more angel investments – perhaps in a Daytona Beach photographer. However, one of the key lessons for me from the year was that as an angel investor you are better off making an investment through an active network. I have to be honest and say that I have found UK angel groups very disappointing (post investment). They are like estate agents – once the deal has been done, they seem to show very little interest in how the company is doing or looking after the interests of shareholders they introduced to the deal.

As such, I have yet to join an angel group in the UK; don’t get me wrong, they do excel at introducing you to companies and showing you a great range of companies in a short space of time. I have come across a different model in Halifax – which I love and as a result I have joined my first angel network (which is called something good!). They only present four companies a year – and all of their companies get funded (if you are a company presenting through a network – before you part with any money ask how many companies get fully funded through their network)

My investment in one company was made through this network – mostly because I was highly impressed with their post deal diligence and care.

Things do appear to be getting better although I have a funny feeling that this is all the calm before the storm. Within the next six months there will be an election in the UK and it looks likely that there will be a change of government (although I think there will be coalition or much weaker Labour government rather than what everyone thinks will be a strong Conservative government) The next four or five years in the UK are going to be horrible – like trying to figure out how to clean cat urine while you’re a foot deep in it – whichever government is in power. VAT is currently 15% but I believe if the conservatives win it will be 20% by the end of 2010.

Capital Gains Tax is currently 18%, but if Labour win, I am sure they will be raised significantly. Either way, taxes will have to be raised significantly and spending will be curtailed. Our finances are simply awful and after the election urgent action will be needed to address them.

2009 has actually been a very good year for me although it has been a lot busier than expected. I am looking forward to 2010 but my advice is to approach the next year with caution and a backup plan. We are set for some serious changes.

And I hope to stick to one of my resolutions; to write at least one blog a week