Finance: Trusts get bigger investing powers

Charitable trusts in Scotland have been granted more investment powers.

They will now be able to put money into a wider range of investments, including land and building, following the implementation of sections of last year's Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act. They are now also allowed to appoint external investment management firms to manage their investments.

There are about 3,600 charitable trusts in Scotland, according to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, making up about 20 per cent of all charities.

The legislation also sets out the duty of care trustees must follow in exercising their new powers. They must take proper advice about their investments, select investment policies with care and review them.

Jane Ryder, chief executive of the OSCR, said: "I welcome these wider powers for trusts, which have been long awaited in Scotland. The new powers enable trustees to take advantage of a wider and more appropriate range of investments, and at the same time to adapt to modern expectations of their responsibilities."

Catriona Scrimgeour, convenor of the Scottish Charity Finance Directors' Group, said: "Charities will be able to better implement the requirements for stewardship of funds and, we hope, achieve better returns."

KEY POINTS

- Charitable trusts can now put their cash into a wider range of investments

- They can also use external investment management firms to handle their portfolios

- Trusts currently make up about 20 per cent of all charities in Scotland

- The Scottish Charities Act also outlines the duties of trustees in relation to investments, which include taking proper advice and carrying out reviews.

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