In the latest development of the unfolding story of the UK’s Big Society Bank, the entity has been renamed Big Society Capital (the change of name was foreshadowed in June, since it is not actually a bank – see Alliance eBulletin, July 2011) and its first chair and chief executive have been appointed. The two appointees are Sir Ronald Cohen, who will be chair on an interim basis, and Nick O’Donohoe, formerly of JP Morgan, both of whom are prime movers behind the Bank’s foundation. Big Society has also announced a first investment from dormant bank account funds and has agreed what it calls ‘heads of terms’ for £200 million in equity funding from four high street banks. Before the organization can have access to these funds, however, it must receive approval from the Financial Services Authority and the European Commission. Until then, the money will be held by the Big Lottery Fund, which has formed a committee to disburse those funds. Its first investment will be about £1 million in the Private Equity Foundation, which invests in charities supporting disadvantaged young people. According to Sir Ronald Cohen, a ‘10 to 20-year project’ will be needed before social investment becomes a fully mature market, but he added: ‘We should expect to begin to see results after five years’.
Third Sector Online, 28 July 2011