In a Written Statement issued today, Business Minister Edwina Hart announced that Professor Dylan Jones-Evans of the University of Wales will lead the Review.
The Minister said:
“Access to external finance for business start-ups and investment for growth in Welsh businesses is fundamental to sustainable economic growth. The Welsh Government is particularly keen to ensure that SMEs in Wales can access the finance they need to sustain their current operations and support their growth ambitions.
“I am delighted that Professor Dylan Jones-Evans has agreed to undertake this review of access to business finance in Wales and anticipate there will be important findings for economic policy.”
Professor Jones-Evans said:
“There is considerable concern that the economic recovery in Wales is being held back because of the lack of capital for business to develop and grow.
“Whilst SMEs are arguing that they cannot access funding from financial institutions, organisations such as banks are saying the opposite, suggesting that there is plenty of funding available to support the sector.
“This review will try and move past the rhetoric and examine the reality of the situation, the solutions required to getting capital flowing into the Welsh business community and what the Welsh Government can do to facilitate and support this process.”
The Professor said he will be discussing this challenge with financial institutions, academics and other key stakeholders in the supply of money to business and urged as many businesses as possible to respond positively to the call for evidence over the next few weeks.
“It is critical that SMEs have the opportunity to present the challenges they have faced during the last three years in obtaining the necessary funding for growth.”
The Review is to be carried out in two parts – the first will examine the extent that High Street banks meet the funding needs of Welsh businesses, focusing primarily on the requirements of SMEs. The second part will look at alternative sources of funding and the role that the Welsh Government can play in facilitating their development. The Minister has asked to receive a report in autumn 2013.
Professor Jones-Evans, who will be supported by Welsh Government officials and a voluntary advisory group comprising of:
- John Antoniazzi, former partner at Deloitte in Wales;
- Katy Chamberlain, Chief Executive of Business in Focus;
- Professor Robin Jarvis, Head of SME Affairs, The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Professor of Accounting, Brunel University;
- Professor Phil Molyneux, Dean of the College of Business, Law, Education and Social Sciences and Professor of Banking and Finance, Bangor University;
- Huw Morgan, former Head of Business Banking, HSBC Bank plc;
- Chris Nott, Chair of the Financial and Professional Services Sector Panel and Managing Partner of Capital Law LLP;
- Professor Stephen Thomas, Professor of Finance, CASS Business School, City University London;
- Mark Woolfenden, Managing Director, Afonwen Laundry