Another wheeze from businessmen aimed at getting Bristol City Council to part with our money under the guise of “SOCIAL INVESTMENT”? This time it’s a once-in-lifetime opportunity to invest in a regional community bank where remarkable profits and social benefits await according to the bank’s highly optimistic guff.

The bank’s called Avon Mutual and their blurb is predictable. ‘Restoring trust in banking’; ‘Banking for inclusive growth’; ‘Reducing the poverty premium’ shout some of the straplines from this “SOCIAL MISSION” to address “REGIONAL INEQUALITIES” and “MAKE FINANCIAL INCLUSION THE NORM“. The bank’s just completed, a year late, Stage One of a three stage fundraising process after it blagged £100k off the Reverend’s cabinet, promising “two free shares for every share purchased”.

Stage One’s £600k target was reached thanks to the Reverend, gullible hippies at Stroud Council, two unnamed “local foundations” and an unspecific number of “local individual impact investors”. Stage Two will see the bank attempt to raise A FURTHER £2M for “Investment to finalise licensing, test systems, build bank team and first branches and an HQ”. Avon Mutual promise “one free share for every share purchased at this stage, which they estimate” equates to circa 15% IRR“. A remarkable rate of return not promised since the early days of Bristol Energy! How can Bristol City Council resist?

Stage Three, currently touted for 2021 wants £18M OF INVESTMENT to draw down the day after their license is gained “to capitalize (sic) the bank”. Investment in this round we’re told “will result in one share and circa 7.5% dividend”. However, before the city council jump even further in, perhaps they should note how their investment in Stage One is being spent.

A brief glance at Avon Mutual’s annual report reveals Jules Peck, Director and Secretary of this social benefit, has been DRAWING A SALARY OF £85K A YEAR since 1 January 2018, which means ONE FIFTH of Stage One monies have already ended up in his pocket. More of our money is also forked out to the Chairman of the board at £750 A DAY (£195k pro rata) and to directors at £500 A DAY (£130k pro rata). Posts all conveniently earmarked for the gang of retired ex-bankers featured in the bank’s prospectus and the very people who made banking untrustworthy in the first place.

Very nice work if you can get it (and, trust us, you can’t).


  1. Jane Foster

    This is the same entity that is taking – stealing? – money from people on low incomes, incomes that are a mere percentage point of these execs – on the guise of council tax.
    This council is the same that blazed the neighbourhood partnerships, crushed money on public services like libraries, and still has the gumption to come creeping along like a poisonous snake to squeeze money from the poor.
    Whilst they pay their execs six figure funds and somehow find the money to bolster up banks (which as you observed in turn pay their elite ring-masters huge sums) they are in breach of their social contract and nothing is owed to them by citizens.

  2. Paul

    Yep, good old fashioned Republican style trickle down economics, Bristol Labour love it.

    FOR THE MANY (off-shore developers, Student flat developers, Bristol Uni, Bristol Energy, Channel 4, TV Execs at the Bottle Yard, L&G, 40% income tax avoiders , PR staff, Bristol Energy, BDO, Smart City, ARUP, YTL, KPMG)

    NOT THE FEW (that aren’t)

  3. Paul Hornsey

    The article is correct in many senses. Jules Peck Founder and NED) but also Graham Hughes (NED) are crooks.
    They never got £600k in the first round, but only circa 60% of that (check their website, thy’ve changed their message)… ask for an audit of their books (seriously!). HMRC never got involved by this so called bank??? However, Bristol and other councils bought the bullet… idiots!
    Doubt their plan is to ever become a bank, but to collect the money (2nd round of investment) and run.


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