Trust enjoys ‘very good’ year

Shetland Charitable Trust's headquarters in Lerwick.

SHETLAND Charitable Trust chairman Bobby Hunter has described the last year as “very good” for the organisation’s finances thanks to positive investment returns.

A report presented at the charity’s latest meeting on Thursday revealed that the market value of the trust’s investments, which are managed by Baillie Gifford, BlackRock, Schroders and Insight, rose by £20 million over 2017/18 to £252 million by the end of March.

Baillie Gifford, which now looks after 43 per cent of the trust’s funds, saw its equity portfolio increase from £87 million to £108 million.

Fund managers told trustees that while 2017/18 had been a good year financially for investors, growth is expected to slow somewhat over the next 12 months.

Speaking after the meeting, Hunter said the trust was “delighted” with the capital gain made over the last year.

The increases come amid the trust’s drive to cut expenditure significantly by 2020.

“Obviously we’re still not in a balanced state in terms of income and expenditure, but the capital is progressing satisfactorily just now,” Hunter said.

“I think that 2017 has been a very good year and it would be very unlikely if we would have such a good year this year. I’d be delighted if we did obviously, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

The trust, meanwhile, appointed Andrew Cooper as its vice-chairman at Thursday’s meeting.

The role had been vacant since May last year when ex-councillor Jonathan Wills left his trustee post.

The trust also rubberstamped a formal new governance arrangement which will see the organisation consist of a maximum of 12 selected trustees.

The set-up has been adopted after Shetland Islands Council reiterated last year that it would no longer be offering councillors for trustee roles.

The previous model allowed for 11 appointed trustees and four councillor-trustees.