The team

Gavin Francis – Founder and Director

Gavin began his career at HMRC before moving into the financial services sector. Following a career with a wide range of institutions, he has conducted business with private wealth advisers across various financial centres in Europe and became increasingly interested in the possibilities of mobilising wealth in investments that deliberately target positive social outcomes.

Gavin founded and launched Worthstone with the express purpose of helping bring the social impact investment market to maturity amongst financial planners and wealth managers. He has co-authored ground-breaking reports in this area which have contributed to the process of policy reform to help develop the social investment sector in the UK and helped export the UK’s expertise globally via the Government’s Britain is GREAT campaign. Gavin was one of the authors of the report commissioned by Big Society Capital and the City of London Corporation and published in 2013: “The role of Tax Incentives in Encouraging Social Investment”. The proposals in this report were taken up by Government and became what is now Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR); Gavin also sat on HM Treasury’s working group during the consultation on the shape and design of the draft legislation on SITR.

Megan Lawrence – Operations and Communications Manager 

Megan joined Worthstone at the start of 2016 from a background in psychological research and healthcare sector experience spanning six years. She joined due to the core belief of social investment to do real and tangible good. This concept sits comfortably within her general ethos and she recognises the exciting opportunity social investment provides for achieving genuine social benefits for those most vulnerable within society; groups she has worked closely with in the past. Due to the growing nature of Worthstone, she is able to bring a wide variety of organisational and operational skills in the areas of project management, communications and administrative duties and takes on the myriad of responsibilities that come with continual business development.

The Worthstone investment committee

An independent, best in class investment committee oversees our process and independent product reviews, which aggregate vast and specialist experience across fund management, legal, tax and venture capital, owning and managing financial adviser/planning firms, delivering client advice and regulation.

Lee Dunn

Lee is the practitioner on our investment committee, a Certified and Chartered Financial Planner working for one of the UK’s leading financial planning practices.

Lee joined the financial services industry in 2001 after graduating from Bristol University with a First Class degree in Economics and Economic History. He is Paradigm Norton’s Head of Investments and on a mission to help them build and deliver world-class investment solutions for their clients. As a student of economic history, he believes the investment story of the last century is one of investors being taken advantage of by a highly conflicted industry, which culminated in the 2008 financial crisis and the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Lee has made what he terms a “belated discovery” in recent years; that many clients care about more than just maximising risk adjusted financial returns. Lee has advised a number of his clients on social impact investing and believes this is becoming more important to many clients every year.

Ian Gethin

Ian initially joined HM Government Economic Service as an economist before joining Hambros Bank in 1994 working in the public sector debt origination team before becoming heavily involved in the PFI sector. Ian left Hambros with two colleagues to set up the Project Finance & Infrastructure team at Abbey National Treasury Services where he became responsible for the Debt & Capital Markets activities in the Infrastructure sector.

 Ian was one of the founding members of the Secondary Market Infrastructure Fund (SMIF) which subsequently became the largest holder of secondary investments in the UK Government’s PFI programme. Following the sale of SMIF, Ian was appointed as Head of Treasury & Corporate Finance for Land Securities Trillium where he set up the treasury function and was responsible for debt raising across the company.

Since 2012, Ian has become involved in opportunities in the retail financial services industry following the implementation of the Retail Distribution Review. This has led to Ian becoming a founding partner and director of the Inspire Financial Partners and Raglan Financial Services group which has 5 branches across the country and £200 million of funds under management.

Neil Pearson

Neil is a leading tax adviser on investments through the “venture capital schemes” (VCTs, EIS, Seed EIS) and SITR. After 10 years as a corporate lawyer, Neil moved into tax, where (as a partner with leading law firm Wragge Lawrence Graham) he developed a practice as one of the leading advisers on venture capital schemes, working on between 30 and 40 deals a year.

Neil worked on structuring what would have been the first Social Impact VCT, and has worked for and with social enterprises, acting as mentor to a CIC in the West Midlands and advising a number of charities.

Neil was closely involved in the development of SITR and the relevant legislation, and is also part of the social enterprise team at leading law firm Mills & Reeve LLP. Aside from advising, writing and lecturing on the subject of SITR, Neil’s most recent experience includes working on several SITR-qualifying investments and the formation of an SITR fund.

Ian Woodhouse 

Ian joined the Royal Air Force as an Engineer Officer on graduation from Bath University and enjoyed a varied and successful career. With excellent planning, people management, organisation and administration skills honed by over 30 years of practical experience, he was awarded an MBE in 1992 for direction of a major Tornado modification programme for the first Gulf War.

Since leaving the RAF, Ian has been appointed as a management consultant to a portfolio of charitable organisations, advising on strategic planning, organisational change and training. His consistently sound, logical and pragmatic approach to systemic and inter-personal problem identification and resolution is much sought after; his work has invariably been put to good use, resulting in improvements to both capacity and capability.