(June 7, 2012, Weil News)
The London office of international law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges has advised pro bono client Scope, one of the UK's most recognized charities, on the first issuance of bonds under its £20 million bond program. Scope became one of the first UK charities to enter the capital markets when it established and listed its innovative bond program on the Euro MTF Market of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange in October 2011, with pro bono advice from Weil.
The £2 million issue will be used by Scope to invest in its income generation activities, including fundraising programs to grow its supporter base and expand its network of charity shops, both of which generate long-term sustainable sources of income for its work with disabled people. Investors in the bonds include wealth managers, unit funds and private investors as well as charitable trusts and foundations.
Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of Scope said: "The response to the Scope bond programme has been unprecedented and demonstrates that there are investors out there who are looking for products that offer them social returns as well as financial ones. Diversifying our financial support is a key priority for Scope, especially in the current economic climate and the bonds create an alternative way for people to support our work alongside the philanthropic loans and traditional donations we receive. Proceeds from the first issue will provide us with the capital we need to invest in our income generation activities, giving us the potential to transform the support we are able to offer disabled people and their families in the future.
Scope supports disabled people and their families in England and Wales through the provision of expert advice, education and learning facilities, employment and training services and residential care and support services. Historically, Scope has derived its funding from local authorities and health bodies through revenue generated from contracts to deliver services for disabled people, as well as from sales from its network of 235 charity shops, voluntary donations and traditional bank financing.
Scope has partnered with Investing for Good, a specialist social finance intermediary to launch the issue of the bonds, whose FSA authorized affiliate, The Social Investment Market CIC Ltd, is the arranger of the bond program. Linklaters LLP advised Investing for Good on a pro bono basis.
Weil and Linklaters LLP were shortlisted for the CSR Programme of the Year Award at the 2012 Legal Business Awards in connection with their advice on the establishment of Scope's £20 million bond program.
James Cole, partner in Weil’s London Capital Markets group, commented: "We were delighted to assist Scope in their debut offering, with this transaction being a great opportunity for our capital markets team to work on a pro bono matter.
The Weil team was led by partner James Cole, assisted by associate Adam Howard.
Weil has a long history of commitment to public service and pro bono across its international offices. The London office of Weil works with leading charities in the U.K. such as Scope, and also organizations such as Oxfam, NSPCC, Plan, Tearfund and Barnardo's, to ensure that the most vulnerable in society and those representing them have access to the best legal advice.