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SNIB invests £5 million in company partly owned by SNIB director


The Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) is facing fresh questions about its handling of potential conflicts of interest as Disruption Banking reveals the Bank invested £5 million of taxpayers’ money in a firm partly owned by one of its own directors.

Carolyn Jameson was appointed a director of the Edinburgh IT firm Forrit in June 2020 and a non-executive director of the SNIB shortly afterwards, in November that year. Jameson resigned from her position at Forrit in February 2023. A few weeks later, in April 2023, the company received a £5 million investment from the Bank.

The SNIB confirmed that Jameson retains a personal financial interest in Forrit, having been “paid in shares as remuneration for the Forrit board position she held from June 2020,” but added that “she resigned as a Director with Forrit in February 2023, before the decision was taken by the Bank to invest in them, at the end of March 2023.” Companies House documents show the value of Jameson’s shares to be £272,000.

According to public records available on Companies House, Jameson used two different names to register her directorships at the SNIB and Forrit. One is registered under the name “Carolyn Hay” and the other “Carolyn Jameson.” When asked if this was a deliberate attempt to obfuscate her financial interests, the SNIB said: “Carolyn Jameson is registered on the solicitors’ role with this maiden name, Hay is her married name.”

The SNIB told Disruption Banking: “Carolyn Jameson does not sit on the Bank’s investment committee and has no authority or influence over individual investment decisions made by the Bank. Therefore, Carolyn has not had any role in the Bank’s investment committee process or investment decision for Forrit. Carolyn also recused herself from the investment process at Forrit, so was not involved in the investment process within either organisation.

“The initial approach to invest in Forrit came directly from the company, Carolyn did not introduce them to the Bank. The Bank recognised Carolyn’s Directorship of Forrit as a potential and perceived conflict before the full and proper investment committee process commenced. As Carolyn was not involved in the Bank’s investment processes and recused herself from the companies process, conflicts were managed effectively.

“All investment decisions are overseen by the Bank’s independent investment committee who rigorously and objectively assess each business case on its commercial merits and its anticipated impact against the Bank’s missions.”

Disruption Banking previously revealed that the SNIB has invested £7.5 million in a firm run by an employee’s brother, and a total of £16.5 million in three firms with close links to the Scottish government.

Author: Harry Clynch

This article was updated on 02/08/23 to include new information that the value of Jameson’s shares in Forrit are worth £272,000.

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