Trusts and Investments

Parish trusts are held by the Diocesan Board of Finance, which acts as Custodian Trustees on its behalf. We offer help and guidance in managing trusts, which may mean, from time to time, seeking the help of the Charity Commissioners, Stock Brokers and CCLA Investment Management Ltd.

We produce a ‘schedule’ of a parish’s investments each year, documenting the trusts that are held, the investment and the number of shares, and current market value.

Trusts can be categorised as having permanent or expendable capital. The interest received from the investment can also carry terms: restricted, unrestricted and conditional. These terms uphold the intended purpose for which the money was given to the parish.

The majority of the trusts are straightforward and provide the parish with income to meet the intended purpose.

The ‘Charities Act 2006’ gives trustees of ‘small charities’ more flexibility to help them resolve situations that can arise from time to time that can be problematic or burdensome. These might include:

  • Monies that can no longer be used as intended
  • Accessing permanent capital
  • A trust established for a purpose that is no longer relevant to modern society (known as a ‘frustrated’ trust)
  • Trusts where written documentation is lost and income has been accumulating for years.

Cy-pres (near to) is the term used by the Charity Commission and is the legal principle used to bring into line the difficulties experienced from some of the above situations.

Permanent capital may now be accessed for specific uses, by either borrowing from the capital or, if justification is found, by expending the whole capital. In these cases the DBF will work with the parish and the Charity Commission to help resolve the situation.

The Charity Commission is well aware of the monetary problems that parishes are facing today and will view any case sympathetically.

A few of the situations we have helped resolve over the years have included:

  • Helping a parish to change the terms of a ‘frustrated’ trust. Permission was then granted for it to access the capital as well as the income to further the needs of the new terms.
  • Helping a parish to dissolve an old trust where no written documentation could be found. It could then access the monies held in the investment to fund much-needed repair work.
  • With the help of the Charity Commission, enabling a parish to borrow against permanent capital to fund urgent repairs to the church roof.

"Thank you for your help in managing our investment. We would not have been able to find our way through this without your help." A grateful parish

If you have a problem concerning a parish trust, the Finance team will endeavour to help you.