FAQs

We are in touch with many charity trustees and we find that some questions frequently crop up. Below, we have provided the answers to some of the things that we are often asked, but if what you are looking for isn’t on this page, our team will be pleased to help.

This section highlights some of the questions we often get asked by charities; they cover investing for the first time, experienced investors and the review process.

Key: Q = Question, A = Answer, T = Topical Commentary

Q: We have no investments at the moment, but feel we cannot leave all our funds in the bank anymore. What do we need to consider?

A: There are a number of elements to consider. The Charity Commission has produced guidance reflecting both legal points and best practice on things to consider, as well as things that must be in a written policy if you appoint a fund management firm to look after your investments.

T: Many charities have invested for the first time in recent years, as the combination of low interest rates and the impact of inflation has meant they have little income to spend on their charitable purposes each year. That inflation will also make their money worth much less in the years to come. Discussion points often include how to diversify, how to manage a range of risks, what their investment policy should contain and what level of income they might expect.

Q: How often should we meet our investment managers?

A: The simple answer is ‘as often as you feel you need to’, bearing in mind the availability of your managers. We recognise that charities have many areas of work to manage on a day-to-day basis. However, they also have a governance structure in place and they have committees, both of which embody how they manage their organisation effectively. That leaves each specialist (internally or externally) to fulfill the charity’s brief, meeting with the charity to monitor and to plan as often as both parties feel they need to. Many charities wish to meet those managing their invested assets on a quarterly basis, and like to know that they can also ask them questions when they are setting budgets, or if their financial circumstances change.

Q: How can we avoid risk when investing?

A: You can’t avoid risk; it is important to understand the types of risk and how to manage them.

T: The discussion on investment risks and how to manage them has become more complex as the range of investment options, the corporate characteristics affecting shares, and the proliferation of pooled funds have all developed. It is important to talk to your investment managers about a range of risks, and to ensure that your ‘appetite for risk’ is reflected in both your policy and your investment arrangements.

Q: What types of advice should we receive?

A: Many charities have considerable experience of investment matters and some have a specialist investment committee. While it is for each charity to decide how the Charity Commission guidance should be reflected in its own arrangements, many seek the independent advice of their investment managers to complement the guidance. The important thing is to be clear about what type of advice you seek, and then clarify with any investment firm or adviser/consultant what advice you will receive and what formal arrangements are in place.

T: There are various types of business model in the investment industry, some of which underwent change in 2013. Aside from advice, the nature of the contractual agreement a charity has with an investment firm can also take different forms. Firms offering investment services may offer a fund (or funds), with or without a regulated agreement under which they may give advice; some can advise on their own products but not always offer wider advice; others offer an investment service, under a contract, where the investment management and professional advice are combined. The key is always to obtain as much information as possible on the offering in order to make a decision that trustees feel is right for their charity.

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Charity management brochure

Our charity specialists are dedicated to charity investment management and have a commitment and insight into the range of requirements and concerns of charity trustees and executives.
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The value of investments and any income from them can fall and you may get back less than you invested.

How can we help?

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Graeme Bowden

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Susan Hazelwood

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Paul Jackson

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Lucie Gordon

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Philip Thitchener

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Brian Boyd

07825 732007

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The value of investments and any income from them can fall and you may get back less than you invested.