The independent panel appointed to explore the feasibility of a development bank for Wales held its inaugural meeting on Monday (2nd June 2014) chaired by Professor Dylan Jones-Evans.

The creation of a development bank  was one of the key recommendations from the task and finish group set up by Economy Minister Edwina Hart to  review access to finance for SMEs in Wales.

The report called for a review by the Welsh Government into the feasibility of this approach.

The Minister, who met panel members after their first meeting, said: “The Welsh Government is committed to supporting business growth and access to finance is an essential element to ensure SMEs can reach their full potential and help create jobs and wealth.

“This feasibility study is therefore an important piece of work that will explore the concept of a development bank in more depth. I am grateful that Professor Jones-Evans has agreed to lead this review and delighted he is being supported by such a high quality panel of experts.

“The panel will explore the potential mission, role and operations that a development bank could undertake and will examine the legal and state aid framework required to establish and operate such an organisation.  They will also investigate the necessary skills and associated costs and the relative risks and rewards.”

Professor Jones-Evans said:”Recent data from the Bank of England suggests that small firms are still struggling to get access to finance that will be critical in delivering growth and jobs for the economy. 

"One of the potential solutions to this problem here in Wales is the creation of a development bank that will utilise the various types of funding available to the Welsh Government and work closely with the private sector in delivering financial solutions for Welsh businesses. 

"This is not about minor changes to who delivers what in Wales but a once in a lifetime opportunity to build the best financial support system for SMEs in the UK that would be the envy of the rest of Europe. In doing so, we would place SMEs and their needs at its heart to ensure they get the financial and business support they require to help grow the Welsh economy."

"I look forward to utilising the experience and expertise of the excellent panel that has been appointed to examine this issue in depth over the next few months and develop a business case that the Welsh Government can then consider."

The following have been appointed to the Development Bank for Wales Panel

Katy Chamberlain is chief executive of Business in Focus. She was previously the chief executive of Chwarae Teg and a director of the accountancy firm KPMG.

Patrick Crawford is the chief executive of the Charity Bank, an organisation that provides secured loans to charities, community organisations and social enterprises across the UK. He previously headed up UK Export Finance (Export Credits Guarantee Department) for the UK Government and served on the boards of Crossrail and UKTI. 

Nelson Gray is an investor, mentor and non-executive director of LINC Scotland, the Scottish Angel Capital Association. He has worked with many high growth companies in a range of sectors and was European Business Angel of the Year in 2008.

Rob Hunter is Finance Director in the Department of Economy, Science and Transport within the Welsh Government.

Juliet Luporini runs a successful business in Swansea and is currently the chair of the Swansea Business Improvement District. She has served on the Williams Panel that examined the governance and delivery of public services in Wales and the Business Rate Task and Finish group.

Roger Maggs is the joint founder of Celtic House, a leading Canadian venture fund specialising in technology start-ups. He has held directorships on more than 30 public and private boards and is currently a board member of three public companies in North America. 

Chris Nott is managing partner of Capital Law LLP, a commercial law firm working across the UK and in Europe. He chairs the Financial and Professional Services advisory panel for the Welsh Government. 

Richard Pepler is Corporate Director with Henry Howard Finance Plc. He has considerable experience of the factoring and invoice-discounting sector, having been chief executive of the Ultimate Finance Group PLC and the Interface Financial Group.

Tim Pezzack is Divisional Managing Director for the Midlands and Wales for Santander Bank. He was previously UK Head of Key Markets for Lloyds TSB with responsibility for over £8.2 billion of lending.

Mark Rhydderch-Roberts is a specialist in investment banking and equity finance. He has held senior executive positions in global banks such as Societe Generale Investment Bank, Bear Stearns International and Fox-Pitt Kelton.

Seth Thomas was previously a director for Citi specialising in public sector banking and public policy issues. His work for bodies such as the UK Government has included examining options for the creation of a regional development bank.

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