There is a number of different ways to invest in EIS. The approach taken will depend on how much the investor knows about EIS, their risk profile and the level of advice they want. The main options are shown below:
1. Through a Professional Adviser
This is a good option where an individual would like professional advice on their finances as a whole. It is also appropriate where specific recommendations and advice are required for EIS funds, EIS portfolios, or ElS companies.
2. Directly with an EIS Investment Manager
This is more common if an investor already has a relationship with the manager and/or considers themselves to be sufficiently sophisticated and experienced to not require professional advice. This option will normally provide investors with the benefits of investing in a diversified portfolio.
3. Directly Purchase of an EIS Qualifying Company's Shares
This may be an approach followed by 'business angels', who tend to be experienced entrepreneurs and serial investors who often provide expertise and contacts as well as investment capital. This route may also be taken by people within the network of the owners of the company who are raising finance through EIS. Finally, some individuals who like to know exactly where they are investing and perhaps have their own portfolio of EIS companies, may take this approach.
4. Through an Investment Platform
Increasingly, EIS qualifying companies are seeking to raise money directly from investment platforms in addition to or instead of other distribution channels. This is becoming an easier and more common option for individuals to invest in single company EIS. Depending on the route investors take, there will be varying levels of support available, although all options will follow the same fundamental underlying process laid down by HMRC.