The Trust is a permanently endowed trust. This broadly requires that it protects the capital value of its investments (in real terms) and uses the income and capital growth in excess of inflation for distribution to its beneficiaries.
The primary, and most challenging, task for Trustees is the management of the Trust’s investments to achieve reasonable returns at acceptable levels of risk. The current and recent economic environment has been a very difficult time for anyone managing investments. The Trust manages a diversified portfolio of investments ranging from agricultural land and commercial property through to equities, corporate bonds and gilts.
Between 2018 and 2020 the Trust sold 63 acres of agricultural land just off Myton Road and Europa Way for residential development. This was done as a member of the Europa Way Consortium, which managed the sale of over 90 acres. The Trust had been working hard for many years to get planning permission on this land and it finally succeeded in December 2014. Significant infrastructure work had to be done before the land sales, which started in 2018 and finished in 2023. In 2019, the Trust also sold land in Hampton Magna for residential development.
The management of these investment assets, which stood at £74 million at December 2023, has to be on proper commercial terms. It cannot mix up its management of the assets with the way it then gives grants. The Trustees have many legal obligations they have to follow when managing assets, not least of which is the selling or renting of property, where it is necessary to get the best value that can reasonably be obtained.
When looking to distribute funds the Trustees have a legal duty to manage the rights of current and future beneficiaries. Since 2012 the Trust has, with Charity Commission approval, adopted a Total Returns approach to accounting and distribution. Until then the Trust could only distribute its net income. Since then the Trustees have to make a decision as to what is the appropriate level of distribution. To achieve this they use a modified version of the Yale Spending Rule. Further details in the accounts in this section.
Board of Trustees
Trustees get no financial benefit for the considerable amount of work they undertake and the legal responsibilities they have.
The Trust can have a maximum of 12 Trustees:
Nominated Trustees serve a 4 year term. The co-opted Trustees serve a 5 year term and should be persons who through residence, occupation or employment, or otherwise have special knowledge and appreciation of the Town of Warwick.
The work of the Board of Trustees includes a number of committees including Finance & Investment and Grants. Trustees also serve on the Europa Way Consortium. The Board and each committee meet a minimum of 4 times each year.
The Board of Trustees represents a considerable range of experience and expertise that is available to the Trust. More details are set in Our Team.
A summary of our governing documents (a number of Charity Commission Schemes and Orders) is available here.