In 2001 the Trustee Act 2000 came into force for trusts established under English Law. Trustees have a legal requirement to understand and take into account this legislation.
The act requires and imposes a Duty of Care on the trustees to legally ensure the trust arrangement is operated in a suitable way. It is especially important for trustees to ensure that the duties imposed upon them by law or the terms of the trust deed are carried out.
Failure to effectively administer the trust could create a breach of trust. If a breach of trust occurs the beneficiaries could opt to take legal advice against the trusteeship and seek financial compensation.
Typical breaches of Trust include:
Responsibility of trustees
Trustee’s responsibilities fall into a number of categories:
1.Duty of Care. Trustees are required to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and the trust arrangement.
2.Standard Investment Criteria. This places a responsibility on the trustees to ensure that the assets held within the trust are invested in a suitable and appropriate manner.
3.Delegation of duties. This power allows trustees to delegate certain tasks in relation to trusts. It does not absolve the trustees for their responsibilities, but might help with the operation of the trust.
Specific Trustees Duties
Under the Trustee Act 2000 the trustees have specific duties that they should ensure are carried out. These include:
The act replaced existing powers set out under the Trustee investment Act 1961 with a wider general power of investment. For trusts that do not have wide powers of investment the Trustee Act 2000 provided wider powers.
There are a number of exceptions from the Trustee Act 2000. These exceptions include trusts that are set up under Occupational Pension legislation, Authorised Unit Trusts and some trusts set up under the Charities Act 1993.
The requirements placed on trustees can be onerous and time consuming. We can help guide you through the complexities of the trustee act and help you comply with your trustee responsibilities.
Choosing the correct Ethical or Socially Responsible investments will depend on your own beliefs and values. A starting point is to use a screening process.This will help you to analyse which types of industries and companies they would like to either include or exclude.
There are primarily two types of screening, positive and negative.
The process of Negative Screening excludes investments that you might consider undesirable. For example you might want to exclude some of the following:
Positive screening helps to identify the businesses that demonstrate the potential to offer good quality, long-term ethical investment opportunities. The positive screening process will help you to avoid businesses that could encounter problems as their day to day operations might not be sustainable in the long term. Positive Screening might include companies involved with
By employing active shareholder engagement it is possible for shareholders and fund managers to encourage a more corporate and social business approach.
It makes sense to consider investing into companies that have the foresight and willingness to adapt.
Anyone seeking evidence that investment decisions can be hard often needs to look no further than the front page news. China, oil, VW and Glencore are among the assets that have made the headlines in the past few months after suffering sudden, unexpected and dramatic changes in price.
Investors with exposure to those volatile assets might be licking their wounds and reconsidering their positions. This is because many investors have an investment strategy that relies on their (or someone else’s) forecasts about the future. In the simplest terms, their starting point is a blank sheet of paper, where they build a portfolio of assets they think will do better than the alternatives. Sometimes those decisions are right; sometimes they are wrong.
We have a different starting point. Our investment philosophy is based on things we know rather than things we don’t know. For example, we know that financial markets do a good job of setting prices, so we don’t try to second-guess them. Instead, we begin with the belief that investors will, on average and over time, receive a fair return for investing their money.
Our aim is to give our clients access to that long-term return through broadly diversified, low-cost portfolios of assets that aim to beat the market average. The portfolios do this by using information in market prices that tells us about a security’s characteristics and its expected future returns.
The decisions we make about what assets to hold are based on decades of academic research rather than short-term hunches. This means we can focus on meeting your long-term goals rather than becoming absorbed by short-term market movements.
Generally speaking, investment decisions are hard, but if, like us, you start with information you know is backed by decades of evidence and build an investment philosophy and strategy around it, we think you can improve your chances of being a successful investor.