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Community / Shetland Charitable Trust sees another strong year of fund growth

Trust chairman Bobby Hunter to step down in May

Shetland Charitable Trust headquarters at North Road. Photo: Shetland News
SCT headquarters on North Road, Lerwick. Photo: Shetland News

SHETLAND Charitable Trust expects to see an eight per cent growth in its investments by the end of the financial year.

According to figures outlined at a meeting of the trust on Thursday its fund was sitting at £254m in December 2018. That was £5.6m ahead of 31 March 2018, but a £10m growth in January and continued strong performance in February has led to expectations of a very good year for trust investments.

According to trust executive business manager Raymond Mainland the trust’s funds had “exceptional” returns in the first three to five months of the financial year before the markets took a significant down turn in September and October.

The trusts investment returns grew by £3m by December but that totalled £5.6m when dividends were added.

Mainland told trustees: “The markets are still volatile but over January and February have come ahead by £20m. That makes us roughly eight per cent up on the year. Equity markets across the world have been the driver for that.

“If we end the year with that we would be very happy with that,” he added.

He said that the US/China trade deal and “our good friend Brexit” had contributed to the volatility.

SCT chairman Bobby Hunter.
Charitable trust chairman Bobby Hunter. Photos: Shetland News

After the meeting charitable trust chairman Bobby Hunter said: “It’s been a good enough year. By the end of December we were up 1.6 per cent, which was 0.9 per cent above the benchmark where we would expect to be.

“In addition to that, in January it recovered by another £10m and February is looking to be a similar figure, so we are going to be about eight per cent up at the year’s end if things bides the way they are, which is a very, very good result. We are absolutely delighted.

“There is so many variables just now with what is going on internationally that you can never sit on your laurels and assume that everything is going to be all right.”

It was the last official trust meeting Hunter would officiate as chairman after seven years in the post. His successor will be appointed at the first meeting in June after he leaves at the end of May, when the trust ought to have several new trustees in place also.

Hunter said: “It is time to go. And you have to understand that you are just there for a bit and its time for somebody new to come with different ideas.”

He said that if he had brought anything to the trust, it was not being frightened to speak his mind and the ability to keep things focused during meetings.

He said: “I like to think that we have gotten the administration of the trust sorted out and the constitution has been changed to be a more usable animal after we had the councillors leaving, so we had to readjust the regulations of the trust and I think we have done that successfully.”

He was also “delighted” with the new intake of trustees. “We are getting younger trustees and a mix of men and women. When I came here first it was a pretty grey auld man looking trust and we have changed that now.

“Absolutely that’s what it needs – a good representation of age groups, genders, geographic representation out through Shetland and I think it’s a pretty good trust committee now.

“They are certainly very enquiring when decisions have to be made. Folk ask very detailed and technical questions and come to a judgement on it.”

Hunter, who will be 70 next month, remains on the committee of Hjaltland Housing Association.