FINANCE NEWS: ACEVO calls for stricter trustee finance rules

Mathew Little

Chief executives' body ACEVO has asked the Charity Commission to require trustees to include a statement in their annual accounts that they regularly monitor their organisation's investments.

ACEVO wants the commission's Statement of Recommended Practice, which sets out what charities must include in their accounts, to incorporate a statement that trustees give "regular consideration" to the objectives of their investments and their suitability.

Michael Jacobs, a member of ACEVO's Young Committee, which produced the report The Chips are Down - A Template for Improving Charity Investment Practice in January, has written to James Dutton, chairman of the commission's SORP committee, to request that any revised guidelines include a statement based on the principles outlined in the study.

According to ACEVO, the statement should read: "The trustees have given regular consideration to the objectives for which they hold investments and the suitability of the investments which they have made during the year under review. In doing so, they have followed the template set out in the Chips report."

The report recommended that charities should draw up a statement of investment practices covering issues such as income and capital requirements, asset allocation, the overall level of return expected and the charity's stance on ethical investment. It should also indicate if the principles have not been applied and form part of the charity's annual report.

ACEVO argues that if the Chips report is to be successfully implemented, charities should not only be encouraged to adopt the template in the report, but also regularly monitor their investments.

The Charity Commission has already indicated that it will include a link to the Chips report on the investment section of its web site.

The report found that while many charities had written guidelines on investment objectives, they were often "short or fairly vague in nature".

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