Q&A with James Sampson, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Ayming UK

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Expert Opinion
October 12, 2023

We caught up with James Sampson, Ayming UK’s Head of Strategic Partnerships, to give us an insight into his role and how he works with our partners.

  1. James, you’ve been with Ayming for almost a year now, can you give us some of the highlights from your time so far?

    Despite being here for just under a year, it feels like I’ve been a part of Ayming for much longer. It’s truly wonderful to be able to join a team and immediately feel like you’re at home. Despite Ayming’s global reach and size, there’s an inclusive and warm family-like atmosphere that makes everyone feel welcome.

    Coming from a different industry, I’ve relished the opportunity to immerse myself in R&D Tax and Grant Funding and have been fortunate to work alongside some exceptional colleagues who have helped me develop my knowledge.

    During my first year, we’ve successfully forged some incredible partnerships with global funding organisations, and we anticipate carrying this positive momentum forward into 2024.

  2. Tell us about your background.

    Before I joined Ayming, I spent 17 years in partnership roles in the energy sector. During this time, I had the opportunity to work with a wide range of energy consultancy firms, spanning from family-run operations to the largest energy and sustainability advisory firm in the UK. Towards the end of my tenure, I collaborated closely with experts in developing ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) strategies and meeting TCFD (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures) requirements for some of the UK’s largest businesses.

    One of the connections I’ve made since joining Ayming revolves around the significance of ESG in today’s corporate landscape. It’s crucial to establish the link between ESG and R&D because, in many instances, a company’s efforts to enhance sustainability will involve a substantial element of research and development.

  3. When you talk to them, what are partners looking for in a collaboration with Ayming?

    R&D Tax credits have undergone significant transformations in the past year, resulting in a complex and dynamic marketplace of advisors. Amidst the negative publicity surrounding certain providers in this space, we have been approached by numerous organisations seeking a reputable partner.

    What matters most to our partners is finding a brand and team they can wholeheartedly trust. When we engage with a company, we recognise that our partners’ reputations are at stake, and therefore, it’s imperative that we offer top-tier advisory services.

    Our partners also seek assurance that their clients receive comprehensive protection during the process and that they are submitting optimised and resilient claims to HMRC while minimising risk wherever possible. The fact that Ayming has maintained a consistent claim value for five years instils tremendous confidence in our partners, as does our impressive 96.3% retention rate for corporate business.

  4. And what does Ayming have to offer as a partner to VC and PE firms?

    Ayming is an ideal partner for private equity and venture capital firms. Our expertise in optimising R&D Tax Credits and innovation funding can significantly enhance the financial performance of their portfolio businesses. We specialise in maximising returns while reducing risk, ensuring that a client’s investments yield the highest possible results. With our robust approach to claims and focus on compliance, we provide peace of mind, enabling portfolio companies to achieve greater success and profitability. We become a trusted ally to our clients, driving value and innovation within their investment portfolios.

  5. What are the benefits of partnering with Ayming?

    Partnering with Ayming offers a range of valuable benefits. We specialise in increasing enterprise value through the optimisation of R&D Tax Credits. Our unique claim methodologies save time and resources, streamlining processes for commercial efficiency. Ayming’s experienced consultants are sector specialists, understanding and providing tailored solutions dependant on our clients needs. With a global presence, we offer international insights and support for businesses with global operations. As chartered Tax Advisors and CIOT members, we uphold rigorous standards, ensuring ethical and professional practices in every engagement.

  6. You’re currently working with a number of PE and VC firms. What do strategic partnerships with Ayming look like for them?

    We are currently working with a large number of PE and VC firms helping them in the management of their portfolio. Ayming are on hand to speak with any portfolio company that is looking to review their R&D Tax position. Knowing the unique needs of investment and portfolio managers we have developed a suite of products that have been specifically tailored to the PE and VC space. These range from Due Diligence assessments all the way to enquiry defence.

  7. What’s on the horizon for strategic partnerships?

    The future of our partnerships looks promising with several exciting developments on the horizon. We are actively expanding our team to enhance our capacity and expertise, ensuring we can provide even better support and insights to partners. We’re also launching a newsletter to keep our partners up to date with the latest industry trends, regulatory changes, and valuable insights. We’re also committed to creating more educational materials, equipping our partners with sector-leading knowledge to help them excel in their respective fields. These initiatives reflect our dedication to fostering strong and informed strategic partnerships, driving success and growth in the future.

  8. Finally, tell us what do Gregory Porter, The Last Night of the Proms and Kylie all have in common?

    I’ve had the privilege of attending Gregory Porter, The Last Night of the Proms, and Kylie, amongst others, at the Royal Albert Hall in 2023. I manage a commercial partnership with the venue, which includes the use of a dedicated box. Looking ahead, there are many more exciting performances in the coming year which serve as excellent networking opportunities for our VC and PE partners.

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