New group to draw up ‘universal principles’ for charity investment

The Charity Investment Governance Principles project will develop a set of principles for trustees and leaders to use when making decisions about investing charity funds

(Photograph: Burak the Weekender/Pexels)

A group of sector experts will draw up a set of “universal principles” aimed at improving best practice in charity investment. 

The Charity Investment Governance Principles project will be hosted by the Charity Finance Group and will feature representatives from the Association of Charitable Foundations, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the Wales Council for Voluntary Action and the Charities Responsible Investment Network.

The group, led by the independent consultant Gail Cunningham, aims to explore best practice in decision-making about charity investments.

The group said the project would complement the Charity Commission’s recently updated CC14 guidance and the Charity Governance Code.

It will also reflect the outcomes of the Butler-Sloss case of 2022, which ruled that trustees could consider climate change factors when making decisions over their charity’s investments, even if it meant making lower returns.

The project aims to work with charities to develop a set of principles for trustees and leaders to use when making decisions about investing charity funds. 

The group is asking charity leaders and trustees to complete a short form to register their interest to engage with the project.

It hopes to publish the final results of the project in the summer.

Richard Sagar, head of policy at the CFG, said: “By convening investment and legal experts, charity sector bodies and leaders, we are working together to develop a set of universal principles that will increase confidence in the governance of charity investments.

“Understanding what best practice looks like, and how it can be achieved, is key to a dynamic and trustworthy sector. 

“Following a series of focus groups with the key stakeholders, we’ll be running an open consultation in spring 2024.”

Sagar said the project aimed to understand “trustees’ experiences, insights and best practice on charity investment”.

He said: “CFG looks forward to working alongside the other project partners and engaging with a wide range of charities in the coming months.”

The group putting the principles together also includes Luke Fletcher, partner at the law firm Bates Wells; Elizabeth Jones, partner at the law firm Farrer & Co; and Kristina Kopic, head of charity and voluntary sector at the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales.

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