A new system to encourage savers to invest in French SMEs

Are savers aware of the Relance label? Too early to tell, we cautiously answer the Treasury. While fund managers and large life insurance companies have largely taken hold of the label, wealth management advisers (PMCs) are not specifically fond of it. Only 30% of them know it … and 53% do not find the labeled funds interesting enough to offer them to clients, according to the barometer BNP Paribas Cardif-Kantar dedicated to the CGP market, broadcast in September.

In addition to this lack of notoriety, funds labeled “Relance”, which must, in particular, devote at least 30% of their assets to the financing of French companies, suffer from another intrinsic weakness with the general public: they are confronted with the risk aversion of French savers.

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Of course, the health crisis has boosted household savings. Certainly, the funds in euros of life insurance and the Livret A do not bring much. Of course, again, the performance of the Stock Exchange and funds investing in unlisted companies can be envious. But are savers willing to risk their savings?

Not that much, if we are to believe the latest study annual savings circle (September 2021): in the coming months, only 8% of respondents intend to invest their money set aside for the long term. “Through their responses, the French indicate that safety comes before performance”, notes, moreover, the authors.

In case of failure

To motivate them, Bercy has taken out of its hat not yet another tax core, but a guarantee mechanism that can be activated by management companies financing unlisted French SMEs – “private equity” being by nature very risky. “Eligible Relance funds primarily benefit from this guarantee managed by Bpifrance”, indicates the General Directorate of the Treasury.

The funds, labeled or not, can send their requests from 1er October; more than a hundred have already done so. “After being approved, they choose, from their portfolio, the SMEs they wish to cover, whether they are in the start-up or development phase, and the guarantee will be valid for ten years”, details Santie Adelbert, responsible for this system at the public investment bank Bpifrance. Funds already supported by tax advantages – mutual funds in innovation (FCPI), and local investment funds (FIP) – are not eligible.

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