PwC with the British Business Bank

Exceptional Support and Delivery to a Client During COVID-19

PwC worked with the British Business Bank (BBB) to design, develop, launch and deliver the UK government’s Future Fund – a lifeline scheme issuing convertible loans to innovative companies affected by COVID-19. This is a landmark achievement and one the firm is proud to have worked on, as it is very much aligned with PwC’s purpose: to build trust in society and solve important problems.

BBB is a development bank owned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Its aim is to enable the supply of credit – and therefore operational and investment funding – to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the UK’s fast-growing and innovative businesses did not meet the qualification criteria for the mainstream emergency loan programmes, due to their relative infancy or fledgling but high growth nature. These businesses are typically operating at the cutting edge of innovation in the UK, and are hugely important to the future of the nation’s growth. The Future Fund is a pioneering scheme to fill the gap in funding and ensure these businesses thrive.

PwC’s objective for this project was to make sure the scheme could issue convertible loans of between £125,000 and £5m to innovative companies facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak. The solution required a rapid design phase that took just over three weeks from concept to launch. PwC’s team designed, developed and launched the scheme and its underlying technology platform, operational process, operating model, legal structure and associated programme management. Following the launch, they provided managed services capability involving 150 people to support the ongoing operations of the Fund.

PwC developed a multi-party application mechanism that was simple and quick for applicants to complete in order to access finance, and then assembled the 150-strong operational team to process those applications. This included undertaking fraud and financial crime checks, customer support, execution of the convertible loan, and cash management. Working fully remotely across the UK, the team launched the scheme within three weeks, where previously even the most ambitious timeframe would have been three months. This demanded a truly agile, integrated working environment, where technology, operations, risk, compliance and legal experts worked seamlessly to deliver on the requirements.

The project was of a scale and complexity that called for a team drawn from all quarters of PwC’s network, across business lines, industry groups and areas of core expertise. The competencies PwC called upon included technology and customer consulting, legal, treasury, valuations, risk, data protection, financial crime and anti-fraud, cyber, corporate finance and tax. The work rate was high, the level of innovation and creativity was remarkable, and the ability to push through challenges and setbacks demonstrated phenomenal levels of tenacity and resilience.

Over £1 billion of convertible loan notes have been issued to more than 1,000 companies supported by the Fund, protecting jobs, sowing seeds for the future, and playing their part in rebuilding the UK’s economy. Without the Future Fund’s intervention, these businesses would likely not have survived the pandemic.

View the PwC profile in the MCA Members Directory.