The Golden Charter Trust (the Trust) was established in 1990 to hold, invest and administer the funds received from individuals and families who have purchased funeral plans sold by Golden Charter Limited. The Trust is a fund whose assets are entirely separate and independent of Golden Charter Limited.
The Trust exists both for the protection of funeral directors who have undertaken to carry out the funeral services in accordance with the plan terms and conditions, and for the plan holders themselves.
In 2015, the Trust transferred its investments into a wholly owned subsidiary company, The Golden Charter Trust Limited, to conduct its investment business more efficiently and to provide greater investment flexibility. The Directors of The Golden Charter Trust Limited are the Trustees of The Golden Charter Trust and so safeguards provided by the Trust were unaffected by this change.
Principal objective of the Trust:
The principal objective of the Trust is to ensure the funds received are invested with a view to ensuring that, at all times, there are sufficient funds to meet the anticipated invoice costs of all outstanding and maturing funeral plans.
How the Trust is administered and managed:
The Trust is administered by a Board of Trustees comprising of experienced business people from a wide range of backgrounds. They are required by majority to be independent of Golden Charter Limited.
In addition, the Trust employs a full time Company Secretary who has responsibility for managing the legal, financial and administration affairs of the Trust on a daily basis. The Company Secretary is assisted by a Risk & Operations Analyst.
The Board of Trustees is responsible for all substantive investment policy decisions. However, oversight of the Trust’s investment affairs is delegated to the Investment Strategy Group, a specialist sub-committee of Trustees, whose members all have significant investment experience. The Investment Strategy Group reports regularly and makes recommendations to the Board of Trustees.
In performing their strategic investment function, the Trustees and the Investment Strategy Group take advice from their investment advisers, Barnett Waddingham LLP, and from the various appointed investment managers who perform the day-to-day portfolio management within their agreed mandate.
Each year the Trust and its subsidiary prepare accounts in accordance with UK Accounting Standards. The accounts are audited by Grant Thornton LLP and reviewed by the Trust’s Audit Committee. In addition, the Trust’s Actuary provides an annual actuarial valuation of the assets and liabilities. The Trust’s audited accounts and the actuarial valuation are sent annually to the Funeral Planning Authority.
How plan money is protected and invested:
All money received from the sale of the funeral plans is paid directly into the Trust. The money, after overheads and costs have been deducted, is invested in accordance with the Trust’s investment strategy, which is designed to achieve the growth necessary to meet the principle objective of the Trust. How plan money is protected, utilised and invested is illustrated in the diagram below.
Expenses of the Trust:
The Trust incurs overheads for maintaining the Trust on a day to day basis which includes fees paid to investment managers and professional advisers.
In addition, Golden Charter Limited incur significant costs selling plans to planholders, maintaining plans throughout the period to maturity and in making the payment to funeral directors at the time of need. In recognition of these costs, the Trust makes payments over the life of a plan, to Golden Charter Limited for the sale, marketing, administration and promotion of funeral plans. The amounts of these payments are agreed between the Trustees and the Directors of Golden Charter Limited from time to time.