Nuffield Health has today launched a £15m retail bond that it says is the largest ever offered by a charity.
The healthcare charity, which yesterday reported that its turnover rose by 12 per cent to £645m in 2012, is inviting people to apply for the bond in amounts of £1,000 to £250,000 in return for a fixed annual return of six per cent.
KP Doyle, chief financial officer at Nuffield Health, told Third Sector that the five-year fixed term product was the biggest bond ever launched by an operational charity. Golden Lane Housing, the housing arm of the learning disability charity Mencap, previously claimed that title when it launched a £10m bond issue in February.
Doyle said interest would be paid out of revenue from the charity’s ongoing operations. Nuffield had identified a number of groups that might invest in the bond, including consultant surgeons who worked at the charity’s hospitals, staff, members of its health clubs, and patients.
"We reach about 800,000 people a year with our activities," he said. "If 3,000 people lent us £5,000, that would give us £15m." He said the money raised through the bond would not be spent on any specific project, but would be used for the charity’s work in general.
Doyle said that if there was significant interest in the bond, it would go higher than £15m, but he would not say the maximum amount it could go to before being closed. "If this is successful we can do it again next year, and the year after that," he said.
The bond is launched today and applications will close on 18 June, unless the target amount is reached before then.