Liverpool SME funder spreads its wings

A subsidiary of Liverpool business funder MSIF is to rebrand and set up its own operation at another city centre location. Tony McDonough reports

Mark Borzomato
River Capital chief executive Mark Borzomato


MSIF subsidiary Alliance Fund Managers (AFM) is to rebrand as River Capital and set up a separate operation at a new location in Liverpool.

AFM was created by MSIF (Merseyside Special Investment Fund) in 2002 to manage funding pots used to provide funding for Merseyside SMEs. Since then it has supported more than 2,000 businesses with loan and equity investments totalling £163m.

Until now the unit has shared offices with MSIF in Exchange Court close to Liverpool Town Hall. Now it is to set up a separate base in The Plaza at St Paul’s Square.

It will continue to manage funds for MSIF. However, in recent years it has also secured cash to use to support businesses from The British Business Bank, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and other private sector investors.

As River Capital it will now accelerate this evolution. It expects to make further major announcements soon regarding new and revised availability of funds to support regional SMEs.

There will be no change to how River Capital manages the current MSIF funds, nor will there be any changes to the funds it currently manages for its other clients. River Capital chief executive Mark Borzomato said: “I’m genuinely excited for the future of River Capital.

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“The repositioning provides a framework for us to expand the funds we manage and better meet the needs of businesses. Our core market, SMEs, remain the backbone of the UK economy, accounting for more than 60% of employment and 50% of the turnover of the UK private sector. 

“Access to finance for these 5.5m businesses is key to their continuing growth, particularly at a time when small business owners and entrepreneurs are facing unprecedented challenges.


The Plaza
River Capital will be based at The Plaza in St Paul’s Square. Picture by Tony McDonough


“We provide hands-on flexible support to our investments and look forward to expanding our offering under our new brand and working with many more great entrepreneurs and ambitious businesses looking to grow and scale up.”

MSIF chairman John O’Brien added: “Over the past 20 years the close relationship between MSIF and River Capital has proved advantageous for the city region. We’re proud to see River Capital develop its own identity as the next stage of its development.

“MSIF’s core mission remains unchanged. It is fully committed to supporting the success of Liverpool city region by creating an environment where local SMEs can prosper and be at the heart of the region’s long-term growth plans. 

“We therefore look forward to continuing our relationship with River Capital. It will continue as fund manager on behalf of MSIF in delivering its objectives.”  

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