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Community / Value of charitable trust investments takes £50m dip

Shetland Charitable Trust headquarters at Lerwick's North Road. Photo: Shetland News

THE VALUE of Shetland Charitable Trust’s investments dropped by around £50 million between the end of December and the end of March.

A report due to be presented to trustees on Thursday highlights that there have been “increasingly rapid declines” in the markets – with growth stocks affected by inflationary pressures and political tensions.

It means that in the 12 months to the end of March the trust made a loss on its investments of £400,000.

Figures show that the trust’s investments at the end of March had a market value of around £435 million.

In contrast that value at the end of December was nearly £488 million.

In the year to the end of March, the trust made a net withdrawal from the fund managers of £9 million. Overall, the growth and dividends from the investments produces a return of exactly zero per cent – compared to 50 per cent in 2021.

But over the longer term, such as three or five years, the return on investments has been above the benchmark.

The trust’s bank balance had experienced a boon in the wake of the Covid recovery, with its reserves swelling.

With finances improving, the trust has in recent years increased the amount of money it distributes to local community groups and charities.

However warnings have always been made about the volatile nature of the stock market.

Shetland Charitable Trust effectively began life in the 1970s when Sullom Voe Terminal launched.

It received and disbursed money paid by the oil industry to the local community as compensation for the new terminal operating in Shetland.

The charity provides yearly funding for Shetland’s main trusts covering arts, amenity and recreation – as well as the rural care model and host of other local groups and organisations.

Its income source is now the gains it makes on its investments.