Downing AIM Estate Planning Service

The Downing AIM Estate Planning Service (DAEPS) provides full IHT relief after two years by investing in a concentrated portfolio of at least 20 companies that are quoted on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and carry on an IHT-qualifying trade.

Your capital is at risk and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Investments are long term and high risk. Tax reliefs are subject to change and depend on personal circumstances. Please find further details of the risks here.

Key features

  • IHT relief: We invest solely in the shares of companies listed on AIM that we understand qualify for business relief, if you hold these shares for two years and at the time of death you can obtain IHT relief. 
  • Capital growth: The objective of this service is to generate growth from the underlying AIM companies it invests in.
  • Control your capital: You can access your investment on request with no penalty. We target to return funds within 30 days of a request. This is subject to our discretion, liquidity and 10 business days' notice.
  • Downside Protection Cover: Included as standard if you're under the age of 90, this policy protects your initial net investment of a loss in value of up to 20% (conditions apply). The cover is for a minimum of two years. It is renewed by the broker annually but this can't be guaranteed to remain in place.
  • Minimum investment: £100,000 per tax year (no maximum). You can top up any time with a minimum of £10,000.

What do I need to know before investing?

  • Where is my money invested?

    We invest in the shares of at least 20 companies listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) that we believe qualify under business relief (BR) legislation. We focus on AIM-listed companies that have a market capitalisation below £150 million, otherwise known as ‘micro-cap’ companies.

    The key criteria we use to identify the right companies to invest in are:

    • The quality of the management team.
    • The business’s ability to maintain an advantage over its competitors.
    • The company’s valuation in comparison to similar companies.
    • The growth potential of the company and its sector.
    • The profitability of the company and its cash flow yield.

    Our approach is to take strategic, long term investment positions (holdings of 5% and higher) in companies that have passed our rigorous due diligence process.

    Market inefficiencies in the micro-cap sector such as lack of analysts coverage, low volumes and prices that aren’t transparent, can provide opportunities for investors.

    We sell investments that we think are no longer beneficial to your portfolio or to make way for new opportunities. To maintain IHT relief, existing investments are sold only if there are suitable alternative investment opportunities.

  • What are the risks?

    Investments in estate planning services are not suitable for everyone, so we recommend seeking financial advice before investing. As with all investments, there are risks you should be aware of before you invest.

    • The value of your DAEPS portfolio can go up and down so your capital is at risk.
    • IHT tax reliefs are not guaranteed, subject to change and only apply if you hold your shares for a minimum of two years and at death.
    • IHT qualifying companies may lose their status if IHT rules change, which means IHT relief may no longer apply to the money you have invested in that company.
    • The past performance of DAEPS is not a reliable indicator of future results.
    • Investing in smaller companies generally carries higher risk because their shares are less liquid and harder to sell than those in blue chip companies on a main stock exchange.

    Please note this is only a brief overview of the risks involved with investing in DAEPS. Please read full details of all the risks here before investing.

  • What are the charges?
    Initial charge via adviser2%payable from your portfolio
    Annual charge  via adviser2%plus VAT p.a. of the value of each portfolio (payable quarterly in advance)
    Initial charge execution-only basis4%(2% of which will usually be paid to your intermediary unless otherwise indicated on your application form)
    Annual charge execution-only basis2.5%plus VAT p.a. (0.5% of which will usually be paid to your intermediary for four years)
    Probate valuations for up to six listed securities£250plus VAT
    Probate valuations for seven or more listed securities£200plus VAT and £10 plus VAT per security held

    We do not charge any administrative, service, exit or performance related fees. We do not charge any dealing fees, however third party transaction fees will apply.

  • Who's the team behind DAEPS?

    DAEPS is managed by our experienced Public Equity team, which is headed up by Judith MacKenzie, an award-winning* fund manager.

    Downing Public Equity was founded in 2011 and has grown to manage £182 million of which £66.5 million are BR IHT funds (as at 31 March 2019).

    Our investment committee draws on a significant number of years investment experience to provide oversight on new investments and portfolio management.

    *Named Small Cap Fund Manager of the Year, Small Cap Awards 2013 and 2015, for the Downing UK Micro-Cap Growth Fund.

  • What happens once I've invested?

    Once you've applied to join the Downing AIM Estate Planning Service we'll send you a letter confirming that we've received your application.

    After your funds have been invested, you'll receive quarterly valuation statements and half-yearly reports that contain details of all the investments in your portfolio and commentary on how your investments are doing. 

    You can request to access your money at any time. We target to return requested funds within 30 days. Note, this is subject to our discretion, liquidity and 10 business days' notice. And not to worry, we won't charge or impose a penalty if you choose to take some or all of your money out of the service. Note, withdrawals will not benefit from IHT relief. 

Essential reading

It's really important that you read these key documents, paying particular attention to the risks before you decide to invest. We recommend you seek financial advice before investing.
Terms and conditions
Factsheet - July 2019

How to invest

The first step is to read the brochure and terms & conditions. When you’re ready to invest complete the appropriate application form below. Send the completed application to us, making sure you've included the required forms of identification.

We recommend you speak to your financial adviser prior to making an application.

We're here to help

If you have any questions, please call us on 020 7416 7780 or email us at