Chris Rowlands joins the Finance Wales board
Chris Rowlands, author and chairman of the UK Government’s
‘Rowlands Review’ into the availability of growth capital to small
and medium-sized businesses, is to join the Board of Finance
His appointment comes as Finance Wales’ impact on Welsh small and
medium-sized businesses tops more than half a billion pounds,
having invested £150 million directly since 2001 and leveraged a
further £350 million. Cardiff born Mr Rowlands, who was a director
at 3i Investments plc before retiring last year as Managing Partner
for Asia, joins Finance Wales as it expands into new UK markets and
continues to invest its £150 million fund in Wales.
In November last year Mr Rowlands announced the Rowlands Growth
Capital Review which concluded that a permanent gap exists for
businesses looking for between £2m - £10m growth capital. The UK
Government is now looking to launch a £500 million fund to fill the
gap as announced in the recent budget.
Sian Lloyd Jones, Chief Executive at Finance Wales, said the
appointment of Mr Rowlands as a non-executive director would bring
significant experience to the Board at a critical time for Finance
Wales. "We are very pleased to have Chris join us. He has a vast
experience of the private equity market, both within the UK and
globally, and in depth understanding of growth capital".
The appointment of Mr Rowlands comes after Finance Wales
expanded its reach in Wales with the launch last year of a new £150
million fund utilising investment through the European Investment
Bank and EU through the JEREMIE initiative – the first of its kind
in Europe. The company’s subsidiary, FW Capital, was also appointed
as a fund manager for a similar fund in the North East of England
in January this year.
Mr Rowlands, who has moved back to Wales and is also a
non-executive director of the Principality Building Society, said
he was delighted to be joining the company. "Finance Wales is a
dynamic, forward looking fund management company – one of the
largest and most successful of its type in the UK – and I’m pleased
to be joining such a team at a critical time for small and
medium-sized businesses seeking investment," said Mr Rowlands.
Mr Rowlands, who was educated at Whitchurch High School,
Cardiff, began his career with Barclays Bank in 1973. Since then he
has risen through the management ranks at Arthur Andersen and 3i,
retiring as Managing Partner – Asia at 3i last year.
Board chairman, Ian Johnson, welcomed Mr Rowlands. He said:
"Chris will add to our already experienced and commercially
focussed board as we now move the business forward."
Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones welcomed Mr Rowlands: "Mr
Rowlands has an impressive track record and I am delighted with
this appointment. He is extremely experienced and his knowledge of
the market is second to none. This appointment further strengthens
the Finance Wales board as the company moves towards achieving the
vision of creating a sustainable Welsh financial institution."
Finance Wales was established as a subsidiary company of the
Welsh Assembly Government in 2001 to provide commercial investment
for SMEs. To date it has invested over £150 million through more
than 2,300 investments. It has also leveraged an additional £350
million in private-sector investment.