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Legal 500, 2022

Treasury reverses investment restrictions following tech industry backlash and pressure from investHER campaign

The Treasury has confirmed that it will reinstate the previous eligibility criteria to qualify as a high net worth or sophisticated investor, thereby reversing the changes announced in January to raise the wealth thresholds for angel investors.

These changes, which disproportionately affected the number of women and underrepresented groups eligible to invest, caused a major backlash in the angel investor community and led to the formation of investHER; a campaign formulated and driven by Emma Wright and several other prominent voices in tech, finance and industry which sought to give a voice to the underrepresented groups which had been overlooked when the Treasury initially consulted on changing the rules.

The campaign garnered huge support in a short space of time, including from the likes Dame Caroline Dinenage DBE MP, Dame Stephanie Shirley, Baroness Jan Royall and Baroness Alicia Kennedy, together with Grace Beverley, Mary Portas and Deborah Meaden. The open letter to the Chancellor amassed around 3,000 signatures in just over two weeks after a private letter with over 140 senior female voices was delivered to the Women and Equalities Committee asking for an inquiry.

Harbottle & Lewis has been proud to support investHER. Emma and the investHER team devoted their time and energy on a pro bono basis and we are delighted to see the impact the campaign has had in bringing change which will support greater diversity in both the angel investor community and founder’s ecosystem. We look forward to supporting investHER as her story just begins.

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