VCTs offer 30% tax break for investing in Britain's small companies

Maxing out your annual Isa allowance of £20,000 and pension contribution limit of £40,000 with plenty of cash to spare is one of the nicer problems in life to have.

But it is one that enough people are credited with having to have driven a surge of interest in investing in venture capital trusts.

These offer generous 30 per cent income tax relief in return for investing in early stage companies, a reflection of the risk that backing such firms involves. 

Five Guys is among the list of holdings in the Pembroke VCT

Pembroke VCT

Ongoing charges: 2.08 per cent

Of the newer, upcoming managers we also like Pembroke VCT, which is managed by Oakley Investment Management, part of the Oakley Capital, a private equity house founded by serial entrepreneur Peter Dubens.

Pembroke focus on four areas of expertise: apparel and accessories, hospitality, media and technology and health and fitness.

Examples of existing investments include Five Guys, a casual dining chain focused on premium quality handmade burgers and fresh cut fries which has expanded to over 90 branches in the UK. Other hospitality holdings include Chucs, an Italian restaurant and café group that has four locations in London, including recent openings at Harrods and The Serpentine Gallery, Hyde Park.  

The Unicorn AIM VCT

Ongoing charges: 2.20 per cent

While most VCTs invest in unquoted companies, some investors prefer to invest in VCTs specifically targeting companies whose shares are issued on AIM. 

The Unicorn AIM VCT is the largest AIM VCT and is highly diversified, with over 100 holdings. These include Cambridge based Abcam, a supplier of protein testing kits to life scientists across the globe; high tech defence group Cohort and Anpario which supplied animal feed to the farming industry.