The Charity Commission has appointed interim managers to two independent school charities amid concerns about the protection of charity assets and potential unauthorised trustee benefit.
The regulator said today it had on 22 January opened a class inquiry into the Martin Foundation and the Collegiate Charitable Foundation, both of which provide bursaries to help students attend independent schools.
The commission said it had begun looking into the charities, which use the same contact address and share a trustee, after receiving information from other regulators and a complaint from the public.
The regulator found "clear and ongoing serious regulatory issues" in the charities’ administration, it said.
This included issues with the management of conflicts of interest at the charities, protecting and properly accounting for the charities’ assets and potential unauthorised trustee benefit.
The commission said its inquiry would therefore focus on the allegations about unauthorised trustee benefit and whether connected-party transactions have been properly managed, as well as whether the charities have been operated for exclusively charitable purposes.
A commission spokeswoman said it had delayed announcing the inquiry "for the purposes of our regulatory work".
Geoff Carton-Kelly and Tom McLennan of FRP Advisory were appointed joint interim managers of the charities on 13 August, the regulator said.
According to the Charity Commission’s website, the Collegiate Charitable Foundation had an income of almost £18.8m and spent more than £18.7m in the year to 31 August 2017.
The Martin Foundation, which according to the commission is not currently carrying out any activity, had income and expenditure of zero in the year to 31 August 2017, the regulator’s website shows.
Its income was approximately £6.3m and it spent almost £7.2m in the previous year, the regulator’s website shows.