A bumper three month period saw Shetland Charitable Trust’s reserves surge to £309 million though chairman Bobby Hunter warned of “volatile” markets.
On Tuesday evening trustees were presented with a report which detailed the trust’s performance in the last financial year. This showed total trust funds rose by £20 million to £284.4 million.
In the first three months of the current financial year the trust’s reserves grew to £309.3 million after recording a surplus of nearly £25 million in the period up to the end of June.
Externally managed investments grew by 11 per cent during that three-month period, increasing the trust’s holdings on global stock markets by £29.5 million. This was said to have followed the improved performance of equities, particularly in Britain and the US.
However, a warning was sounded over the volatility of markets with Mr Hunter saying that the trust is concerned with long-term returns which could “inflation proof” the reserves.
As part of this long-term strategy trust disbursements are to be reduced to £8.5 million by 2020, far below the £20 million funds grew by in the previous financial year or the £24.9 million added to reserves in the first three months of the 2018/19 financial year.
Total spending for the previous financial year, including depreciation, was just shy of £8.8 million. This included around £8 million of charitable grants.
Mr Hunter said: “This represents another strong performance of the trust’s funds, but as we all know markets go down as well as up, and the situation is very volatile at the moment.
“That is why the trust always looks at market returns over the long term. This way, we can inflation proof our reserves for the benefit of future generations.
“We are midway through the implementation of a new financial strategy designed to achieve this, and it is important to underline that our budgeting also remains on target with over £8 million disbursed in 2017-18.”