Funding boost for new Scottish stock exchange

AAB's Douglas Martin, Tomas Carruthers and Edwin Hamilton of Project Heather and Stuart Cooper of AAB. Picture: Contributed
AAB's Douglas Martin, Tomas Carruthers and Edwin Hamilton of Project Heather and Stuart Cooper of AAB. Picture: Contributed
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Plans to launch Scotland’s first stock exchange since the early 1970s have taken a major step forward with the securing of a seven-figure investment package.

Earlier this month, Tomas Carruthers, the entrepreneur who first unveiled plans for the exchange in December, confirmed that he was targeting a go-live date in the second half of 2019.

Now it has emerged that Anderson Anderson & Brown (AAB), the accountancy and business advisory firm, has helped secure a “significant” seven-figure equity investment to support the launch of the exchange – dubbed Project Heather.

In late 2018, the project agreed a partnership with one of the world’s largest stock exchange platforms, Euronext, to run the exchange on its Optiq trading platform.

The team is engaged in discussions with the Financial Conduct Authority ahead of an impending application.

The exchange would look to be headquartered in Edinburgh but with offices across Scotland.

Brian McMurray and Stuart Cooper of AAB worked with Carruthers and the Project Heather team to deliver fundraising advice, sourcing investors and ultimately securing the investment. A further institutional investment round is expected to kick off in the coming months.

Douglas Martin, head of corporate finance at Aberdeen-headquartered AAB, said: “We are delighted to have secured the investment for Project Heather which will help to re-establish the Scottish Stock Exchange after almost 50 years.

“Brian and Stuart have worked closely with Tomas and his team during this process and we look forward to continuing the relationship and supporting the launch of Project Heather later this year.”

Carruthers, founder and chief executive of Project Heather, said: “Working closely with Anderson Anderson and Brown, securing this initial round of investment funding is enabling us to work on bringing a Scottish Stock Exchange to full fruition and launch in the second half of this year.

“We believe a stock exchange, built on the principles of raising capital to have a positive impact on society and the environment, will be a major contributor to sustainable economic growth both in Scotland and the UK as well as provide a destination for impact investors and issuers globally.”

Carruthers, who founded the Interactive Investor platform, had been chief executive of the Social Stock Exchange, an initiative backed by former prime minister David Cameron.

AAB, which also has offices in Edinburgh and London, has some 280 staff, including 19 partners, and turnover last year came in at some £22 million. It aims to grow that to about £40m by 2021.