What do we mean by Social Finance?

Any means of providing financing for an entity which wants to create social or environmental impact, acting for either the investor or the recipient.

Businesses are increasingly aware of the expectation that they should measure performance in more than just financial terms and, as funding from traditional sources decreases, charities and social enterprises are increasingly looking to tap into innovative ways of financing their activities. Social finance is any arrangement in which a person or organisation provides finance to an entity or project that has both a positive social or environmental impact and also creates a financial return. Social finance brings together individual investors, businesses, ethical lenders, social enterprises and charities. It recognises that there is value for a business in achieving positive outcomes for society and also that charities and social enterprises can be sound vehicles for financial investments. There are countless opportunities for businesses, individuals and social enterprises to come together in a mutually-beneficial way, and we are here to help.


Our Team

To reflect the many different types of players in the social finance arena, our specialist team brings together lawyers from our Charity and Social Enterprise, Corporate Finance and Private Client teams. Our unique understanding of these different areas of law and regulation means that we are at the forefront of social finance and best placed to help you develop bespoke, innovative solutions that create real value.

Our Clients

Our work with investors

  • We advise charities, social enterprises, businesses and individuals on ways that they may invest into entities, projects and initiatives for both a social and financial return.
  • We work with individuals to help them structure social investments, including by helping them make the most of social investment tax relief and other incentives.
  • Businesses wish to invest in social finance for a variety of reasons, including an interest in a particular social area and corporate social responsibility.

Our work for organisations seeking funds

We are working with a number of organisations, including registered charities and social enterprises, industrial and provident societies and community interest companies on ways that they can access social finance. Since the introduction of the new social investment tax relief, we have developed structures which will enable them to maximise the benefits arising from the new relief to raise money for their social purposes.

Services we can offer
  • Strategy and structuring financing arrangements, including taking advantage of the available tax reliefs.
  • Preparing standard loan documentation and security documentation for a variety of types of lending.
  • Reviewing loan or security documentation.
  • Advising on, and establishing, new social enterprises.
  • Advising on equity structures for social enterprises.
  • Advising on regulatory requirements in relation to financial promotion restriction.
  • Advising charities on their ability to make social investments.
The work we have done

Our experience includes:

  • Advising a charitable foundation on a series of term loan and revolving facilities totalling £4.4M to a registered charity;
  • Acting for a well-known international trading group in relation to a £55M multi-currency term and revolving facilities agreement, plus £9M ancillary facilities.
  • Acting for a group of charitable foundations and other lenders providing facilities in the region of £2 - £4.5M for the development of properties.
  • Advising a number of grant making and endowed charities on their social investment programmes, including the investment into a notable, contemporary London museum by a leading educational charity.  
  • We frequently advise charities, social and mission-led enterprises on seeking investment, including importantly investment readiness. 
  • Acting both for borrowers and lenders on secured loans; 
  • Creating complex structures to enable academy trusts (within the strict rules which limit their ability to borrow) to fund renewable energy projects providing power for their schools;  
  • Establishing a portal enabling access to the public at large to affordable lending from community development finance institutions.

What our clients say

"They take the time to really get to know the organisation; they offer proactive as well as reactive advice and support, they are incredibly knowledgeable and reliable, the quality of their work is exceptional and they always think things through from all angles."

Chambers - 2019

What our clients say

"Many interviewees are quick to laud the insight the firm offers, with one praising the team's expertise and in-depth knowledge of the charity sector, as well as its solution-orientated and pragmatic approach."

Chambers - 2019

What our clients say

"The team is lauded for its ‘well-presented advice’ and for the fact that there are ‘sufficient subject matter experts on hand to be able to tackle a wide range of questions’."

Legal 500 -  2019

What our clients say

"They were incredibly impressive - they have very practical experience in terms of having done it before, and a good understanding of best practice."

Client feedback in Chambers 2016

What our clients say

“Stone King's overriding value is the care and the support of their clients. They are fully aware of our needs and ensure that they maintain excellent service.”

Client feedback in Chambers 2017

The law and practice referred to in this article or webinar has been paraphrased or summarised. It might not be up-to-date with changes in the law and we do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided at the time of reading. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice in relation to a specific set of circumstances.