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Community / Trust’s value rises by £30m

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

THE VALUE of Shetland Charitable Trust’s investments rose by £30 million over the 2018/19 financial year to £282 million.

Trustees heard at a meeting on Thursday evening that the trust had an investment return of £28 million, or 11.3 per cent.

They were warned, however, that “volatile equity markets” saw “significant gains” in April later reversed in May.

This was mainly due to “renewed trade war concerns between American and China, and Brexit uncertainty”.

The trust invests and disburses money received from the oil industry to the local community as compensation for Sullom Voe Terminal operating in Shetland.

In the last financial year it paid out over £7.5 million to a range of local groups and charities, from the amenity and recreational trusts to Shetland Citizens Advice Bureau and COPE Ltd.

The trust’s investments are spread between four managers – Baillie Gifford, BlackRock, Schroders and Insight.

Baillie Gifford outperformed the equity benchmark in 2018/19, while BlackRock was close to its aim of equalling the equity benchmark.

Schroders outperformed the return of the UK property benchmark in 2018/19 and equalled its target, while Insight underperformed the fixed benchmark over the last financial year.

Representatives from all of the fund managers provided updates to trustees on Thursday.

Speaking after the meeting, newly appointed chairman Andrew Cooper reiterated that the turbulent nature of the financial market means 2018/19’s gain may not be replicated in the future.

“Our investment strategy has delivered on very good returns, and it’s been a very successful investment strategy so far,” he said.

“But clearly it’s linked to overall economic performance of not just the country but the world, and in view of the uncertainties, who knows how it will do over another year, which is why although it’s really good to have these returns, we don’t get too excited.

“We understand in another year you might get losses of that size – that’s just the nature of the long term investments that we make.”