BEWARE: Who you send your business plan to!
You now need to very careful who you send your plan to. You must ensure that they are a member of an accredited Investment Club and have signed a ‘High Net Worth’ certificate or fall into the categories below or you could be breaking the law.
Make sure you check BEFORE you go about posting or emailing anyone your plan.
Sending a business plan to, or discussing it with, potential investors, is a financial promotion and this may require you or other persons involved in the process to be authorised or regulated here in the UK by the Financial Services Authority. Financial promotions sent to private equity houses, and certain other institutions will probably be exempt from the Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA).
Relevant exemptions to individuals or companies communicating business plans to potential investors include the following:
· Authorised persons.
· Exempt persons (where the financial promotion relates to a controlled activity which is a regulated activity for which a person is exempt).
· Governments and local authorities.
· Persons whose ordinary business involves carrying on a controlled activity of the kind to which the financial promotion relates (i.e. private equity and venture capital firms, investment trust companies, large companies which have a corporate treasury function, other persons who carry on activities but are excluded by the Regulated Activities Order).
· Professional firms who are exempt under the Act.
· Individuals in possession of a certificate of high net worth, or who are self-certified sophisticated investors.
Also exempted are persons acting in their capacity as directors, officers or employees of such entities such as directors, officers or employees of authorised private equity and venture capital firms.
Who you cannot send your plan to!
But if you are considering sending your business plan out to others not exempt under FSMA, and you have not had the financial promotion approved by an authorised person, or you are not an authorised person under FSMA then you could be committing a criminal offence, and any agreements entered into may not be binding on other parties, in addition to offering them financial redress against you.
Visit this link to download a useful pdf booklet written by Paul Gardner, c2 Ventures: http://www.internetprnews.com/xpress/41/vppfiles/Promoting%20Your%20Plan.pdf