FINANCE NEWS: Nationwide Foundation rejects trustee over demutualisation

JOHN PLUMMER

The Nationwide Foundation has rejected an application for trusteeship from a Nationwide Building Society member amid claims that the applicant had campaigned for demutualisation of the building society.

Nationwide Foundation trustee Jeremy del Strother has accused Andrew Naughton-Doe of "batting on the wrong wicket

in his failed attempt to become a trustee.

Naughton-Doe's application for trusteeship is the subject of a correspondence between the Charity Commission and the foundation. He claims his bid was rejected on the grounds that he had campaigned to convert the building society into a bank.

Anyone who joined Nationwide prior to 1997 would be entitled to a windfall payment should the building society become a bank. Since then new members have been required to sign over to the charitable foundation their windfall rights in the event of demutualisation. Naughton-Doe, a Nationwide member for more than 20 years, claims demutualisation would be worth up to £1 billion to charities because of the 1997 ruling.

Del Strother, who is also director of human resources at Nationwide Building Society, says Naughton-Doe's application was rejected because his aims were incompatible with those of the foundation.

He said: "Naughton-Doe was proposed for election and sent out an election statement. It was exclusively about converting Nationwide.

"Trustees were clear that pursuing the business of Nationwide Building Society in another body with an exclusive charitable purpose was incompatible with our aims. He was batting on the wrong wicket. We have exclusively charitable purposes."

A Charity Commission spokeswoman confirmed: "The Commission has written to the charity to establish the grounds under which Mr Naughton-Doe's application was refused. We are awaiting a response."

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