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WELSH CHURCH ACT ESTATE COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 11th October, 2017.

 

Present:  Councillor G.A. Cox (Chairman); Councillor A.C. Parker (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Mrs. P. Drake, A.D. Hampton and N. Moore.

 

 

361     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

These were received from and Councillors S.T. Wiliam and Mrs. M. Wright.

 

 

362     MINUTES –

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 25th July, 2017 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

363     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

364     PRESENTATION – INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO UPDATE – TILNEY INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT SERVICES LTD –

 

The Chairman welcomed Ms. R. De Bono (Financial Planner) and Mr. J. Ogilvie (Director – Investment Management) to the meeting. 

 

Ms. De Bono provided the Committee with an overview of Tilney Investment Management Services Ltd who was responsible for the investment portfolio of the Welsh Church Act Estates Committee.  The Company had 180 years of helping clients achieve their financial goals, employed over 1,000 members of staff operating from premises around the UK, services were provided by some of the most highly qualified and experienced investment professionals in the UK, had £24 billion of assets under its management, had 220 financial planners and 120 investment managers with a further 12 dedicated research analysts with an average of 10 years’ industry experience.  In addition, the Company had been named the top performing private climate wealth manager by the Financial Times. 

 

She also alluded to the “two expert approach” when dealing with its clients.

 

Mr. Ogilvie referred to the investment outlook and to Tilney’s four pillar of investment philosophy.  His attention then turned to the wider UK picture in terms of UK Sterling investors and the strong asset returns achieved over the last year using a number of indices.  He indicated that there had been a stock market uplift which had been mainly down to reflationary policies within the USA.  Asset implications had had an impact on UK Government Bonds and also on the FTSE 100.  He further alluded to inflationary pressures as a result of Brexit which had seen a decline in the value of Sterling and subsequent inflationary pressures impacting on food, clothing, fuel, etc. prices.  The Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee was now more “Hawkish” and the prospect of interest rate increases were likely.  However, overall the global economy was performing well but the UK economy remained fragile.

 

At this juncture, Ms. De Bono sought instruction from the Committee in terms of a continuance of a discretionary approach to future investments on behalf of the Committee.  Discussion ensued relating to information regarding the Asset Allocation Summary and the Consolidated valuation of Investments for the period as at 3rd October, 2017, as set out in the presentation material, the rate of return on the current investment portfolio, the level of risk and potential yield of return, including income received now and going forward in the future.  The Principal Accountant reminded the Committee of the need for a balanced portfolio i.e. Discretionary Investments, but at the same time protecting the Estates endowment in perpetuity.

 

Separate discussion also touched upon the Committee’s existing position relating to ethical investments principle and whether this should continue.

 

Having regard to the above discussions it was

 

RESOLVED – T H A T no change be made to the Committee’s current portfolio investment arrangements and that an ethical investment principle continue to be supported.

 

Reason for decision

 

To provide instructions to Tilney regarding the Committee’s requirements.

 

 

365     ANNUAL REPORT AND ACCOUNTS 2016/17 (MD) –

 

The Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31st March, 2017 were appended to the report.  The Committee considered the above, as required by the Charities Act 2011, Section 162. 

 

Committee’s attention was drawn to the Statement of Financial Activities, the main features of which, when compared to the previous year, were as follows: 

  • Statement of Financial Activities

Surplus of £12,000 increased from a deficit of £17,000 in 2015/16.  This was due to an increase in investment income now the new investments were established (£24,000) and rental income (£5,000) in 2016/17. 

  • Balance Sheet

Slight reduction of £1,000 in the value of Investment Properties for the sale of land at St. Peters during 2016/17, and an increase in the value of Investments of £131,000 due to investment of proceeds from sale of the Land at St. Peters (£10,000) and an increase in valuation (£121,000).

The value of the fund at year end was £4.951m, an increase of £148,000 on the previous year.  This was attributable to the surplus on the sale of a plot of land at St. Peters Church £8,000 and a gain on the revaluation of stock market investments £132,000.  There was also an increase in the Unrestricted Funds held of £8,000 during 2016/17.

 

Subject to its approval by the Committee, the document as above would be forwarded to the Council's external auditors Wales Audit Office for independent examination.

 

Discussion ensued regarding the Trust’s Unrestricted Funds reserve which had increased from £100,000 to £112,000 during 2016/17.  Having regard to the level of reserves, the Chairman sought the views of the Committee as to the potential for reducing the amount of reserves held by the Estate to support additional grant funding.  In response, the Principal Accountant indicated that she would need to investigate the feasibility of allocating further funding to school grant applications and would need to submit a report to the next meeting of the Committee. 

 

Having regard to the above discussion, it was

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the Principal Accountant investigate the terms for releasing funding from the Trust’s Unrestricted Funds reserve and that a further report on the matter be submitted to the next meeting of the Committee.

 

(2)       T H A T the Annual Report and Accounts 2016/17 as set out at Appendix A to the report be approved and that the Chairman of the Committee be authorised to sign the same on behalf of the Trustees.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       In consideration of the Committee’s desire to increase the Trust’s revenue estimates for the purposes of funding grant applications. 

 

(2)       In accordance with the requirements of the Charities Act 2011 and the Charities (Accounts and Reports) Regulations 2008.

 

 

366     APPLICATIONS FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE 2017/18 (MD) –

 

Consideration was given to the applications for grant assistance as set out in the Appendix to the report. 

 

A sum of £48,000 had been provided for grants in the Trust’s revenue estimates for the above period.  Officers recommended that an allocation of £22,125 be made for applications for grant assistance as set out in Appendix A to the report.  This would leave a balance of £12,860 to be allocated and it was proposed that a further deadline for applications be set for 15th December, 2017 to maximise the number of awards made during 2017/18. 

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the applications for financial assistance as detailed below be approved:

 

Name of Organisation

Specific Purpose for Which Grant Requested

Grant Approved

Holy Cross Church, Church   Street, Cowbridge

Purchase of 40 upholstered   tubular steel chairs with safety linking

£1,850.00

St. Germans Church, Star   Street, Adamsdown, Cardiff

New heating system

£5,000.00

St. Athan Primary School

St. Athan Primary School   Garden Expansion

£1,000.00

Moorland Star, Moorland   Community Centre

New Boiler

£4,865.00

Cardiff Deaf Creative Hands,   163 Newport Road, Cardiff

Provision of 8 Bite Size   British Sign Language (BSL) Courses for families etc.

£4,410.00

Princes Street Evangelical   Baptist Church, Princes Street, Barry

Main entrance and toilet   renovation to church

£5,000.00

 

(2)       T H A T the application received from Wenvoe Leisure Group be not approved. 

 

(3)       T H A T an additional tranche of grant applications be brought in 2017/18, following the additional 15th December, 2017 deadline be agreed.

 

Reason for decisions

 

(1-3)    In furtherance of the objectives of the Trust.

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