Trustees urged not to kowtow to fund managers

Trustees should be tough with their fund managers, the chief investment officer at financial services firm CCLA Investment Management told delegates at a seminar this week.

Boards should be rigorous about the use of their charities' money and should not be put off by jargon, said James Bevan. They should also be prepared to reject received wisdom if it is wrong for their circumstances, and to demand clear and complete answers to their queries, he said.

"Trustees should be demanding, ask lots of questions and know that they are customers," Bevan told Third Sector. "Trustees tend to get talked at. They shouldn't feel shy and embarrassed about things they don't understand."

Bevan said that trustees should plan investment strategies in accordance with their charities' missions and objectives.

"You need to think about the timeframe," he said. "If you have more than one objective, you should think about fragmenting your assets accordingly."

Bevan added that trustees should pay particular attention to agreeing the fees for fund managers. "If there's no clear understanding, there's large scope for misunderstanding and recriminations after the event," he warned.

The talk, which took place on Monday, was part of a conference for trustees organised by the Charity Trustee Network and supported by the Charity Commission and the Office of the Third Sector.

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