WELSH CHURCH ACT ESTATE COMMITTEE
Minutes of a meeting held on 14th September, 2015.
Present: Councillor F.T. Johnson (Chairman); Councillor H.C. Hamilton (Vice-Chairman); Councillor K.P. Mahoney and R.P. Thomas.
384 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -
These were received from Councillor G.A. Cox, C.P. Franks and A.G. Powell.
385 MINUTES -
RESOLVED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 8th June, 2015 be approved as a correct record.
386 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -
No declarations were received.
387 PRESENTATION - INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO UPDATE BY BRONWEN LANCASTER, TOWRY LTD. -
The Chairman welcomed Ms. Lancaster, Chartered Financial Planner, to the meeting. Ms. Lancaster provided the Committee with an overview of Towry Ltd. which had taken over the management of the Welsh Church Act Trust Fund investment portfolio in September 2013. Ms Lancaster advised that due to the increase in the fund it was now in a different category of investment management.
Ms. Lancaster informed the Committee that the current value of the Welsh Church Act Trust Fund, as at 13th September, 2015 was £849,034.88. The total investments in, as at 23rd August, 2006 was £915,473.58 and the total withdrawals were £243,932.60, therefore the total net money in was £671,540.98 meaning the total gain of the Trust Fund was £177,493.90. The investment had increased by 26.43% since inception on 23rd August, 2006.
The Chairman asked if there would be a cost to the Trust if the Committee switched investments, to which , Ms. Lancaster advised that any change made to the Trusts investments portfolio would be at a cost to Towry Ltd. not to the Trust and advised that new investments would be at a lower annual cost. She explained that investments had previously been managed annually, which meant there was less agility to cope with changes in markets. Ms. Lancaster advised that Discretionary Investment Management would be a better way of managing the Trust as it was able to provide day to day management of the investments and provided greater flexibility to be able to monitor the monies throughout the year and make changes as required. It also catered to a lot of the Trust’s responsibilities. Ms Lancaster advised that certain losses suffered by the Trust in 2008 could have been avoided if Discretionary Investment Management had been available.
The Principal Accountant advised that the aim was to balance the Trust’s Portfolio between growth and income. Ms. Lancaster advised that Towry Ltd. closely monitored the Trust’s investment return and agility had become very important and by employing Discretionary Investments Management losses similar to those experienced by the Trust could be avoided. Ms. Lancaster advised that the best way to improve growth was to avoid volatility, it was best to have a steady return with little fluctuations. Towry Ltd. aimed to give a steady rate of return with as little risk as possible.
Ms. Lancaster confirmed that Towry Ltd. was recommending a change of investment style to Discretionary Investment Management which provided more avoidance of risk and was at a lesser cost to the Trust. She also advised that Towry Ltd. could provide bi-annual reports to the Committee on the performance of the Trust and that on-the-spot valuations could also be provided. Ms Lancaster advised that Towry Ltd. would review the existing position with regard to ethical investment.
The Chairman stated that the Trust had performed well because the funds had been invested in the intermediate risk markets. In response, Ms. Lancaster advised that although the returns on intermediate risks had been good they were at a higher risk, and likely to have fluctuations in returns and Towry Ltd. aimed to avoid these types of losses. Furthermore, the Discretionary Investment Management was a better option for larger funds, which was now the case for the Trust Fund due to increase in the value of the fund.
Following consideration of the advice from Towry Ltd the Committee
(1) T H A T the monies from the sale of Southerndown be transferred into the Welsh Church Act Trust Fund investment portfolio and it be managed through Discretionary Investment Management as soon as possible and a report be brought to the Committee in 6 months time to review the performance of the investments.
(2) T H A T the Trust Fund investments be changed from intermediate to to moderate risk level.
(3) T H A T the monies from the sale of Llangan Church, once completed, be transferred into the Trust fund investment portfolio and be also managed via Discretionary Investment Management.
Reasons for decisions
(1-3) To secure the Welsh Church Act Trust Fund’s investments in accordance with the advice of its Investment Advisors.
388 ANNUAL REPORT AND ACCOUNTS 2014/15 (MD) -
The Committee considered the Annual Report and Accounts 2014/15 as required by the Charities Act 2011 Section 162
The Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2015 were attached to the report at Appendix A.
The main features of the report, when compared to the previous year, were as follows:
Statement of Financial Activities
Compared with the previous year the total revenue surplus of £10k changed to a deficit of £6k mainly attributable to the following:
Reduction in Investment Income £15k
Increased Investment Management costs £ 7k
Reduction in cost of Charitable Activities (£6k)
The unrestricted revenue surplus of the fund reduced by £6k as above and amounts to £122k at year end.
The value of the fund at year end was £4.578m an increase of £0.029m over the previous year. This was mainly due to a net increase following an increase at year end valuation of investments.
Subject to approval by the Committee, the document as above would be forwarded to the Council’s external auditors, Grant Thornton, for independent examination.
Following consideration of the report
RESOLVED - T H A T the Annual Report and Accounts 2014/15, as set at Appendix A to the report be approved and that the Chairman be authorised to sign the same on behalf of the Trustees.
Reason for decision
In accordance with the requirements of the Charities Act 2011 and the Charities (Accounts and Reports) Regulations 2008.
389 EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC -
RESOLVED - T H A T under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 4 of Schedule 12A (as amended) of the Act, the relevant paragraphs of the Schedule being referred to in brackets after the minute heading.
390 LAND AT GLEBE FIELDS, SULLY (HLS) (EXEMPT INFORMATION - PARAGRAPHS 12, 14 AND 16) -
Committee received a report which advised Members of an approach which had been made in relation to use of the land by the current leaseholders.
Following consideration of the report, the Committee
(1) T H A T the approach made from the current leaseholders in relation to the use of the land be noted.
(2) T H A T the request made by the current leaseholders be refused.
(3) T H A T the Head of Legal Services be authorised to take the necessary action to forfeit the lease held by the current leaseholder at Glebe Fields, Sully.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To note the content of the report.
(2) To take into account the advice set out within the report.
(3) To allow action to be taken to forfeit the current lease and in order that the land can be made available for a new tenant.