The Golden Charter Trust was established in 1990 to hold, invest and administer the funds received from individuals and families who purchase funeral plans sold by 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. To ensure this protection, the Trust’s assets are entirely separate and independent of the plan provider, Golden Charter Limited.
The Trust’s investments are held in a wholly owned subsidiary company, The Golden Charter Trust Limited. This allows the Trust to conduct its investment business more efficiently and to take advantage of the lower taxation rates applicable to companies . 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 structure.
The Trust is governed by its Trust Deed which requires the Trustees to comply with the rules of the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) of which Golden Charter is a registered provider. In addition, the Trust must comply with the Financial Services and Markets Act (Regulated Activities) Order 2001.
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 and a Risk & Operations Analyst who have responsibility for managing the legal, financial and administration affairs of the Trust on a day-to-day basis.
The Board of Trustees is responsible for all executive decisions. However, certain matters are delegated to the various subcommittees of up to four trustees, who make recommendations to the Board.
The Working Group comprises of a mix of trustees and representatives of Golden Charter Limited. It is tasked with ensuring effective communication of all issues of mutual interest to Golden Charter Limited and The Golden Charter Trust including product developments within Golden Charter Limited and the impact of developments within the wider funeral planning sector.
The Investment Strategy Group members all have significant investment experience. In performing their strategic investment function, 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.
The Audit Committee meets to consider risk, governance and compliance issues. In addition, the audit committee oversees the production and audit of the annual financial statements of the Trust and its subsidiary. The Trust’s audited accounts and the actuarial valuation of the assets and liabilities of the Trust are sent annually to the Funeral Planning Authority.
The Nominations and Remuneration Committee is responsible for ensuring the performance of the Board of Trustees and individual Trustees is regularly reviewed. It also makes recommendations on the level of Trustees’ remuneration and for trustee retirement by rotation and for the process of appointing new trustees.
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 operating expenses for maintaining the Trust on a day to day basis which includes fees paid to investment managers and professional advisers.
In addition to the direct operating expenses incurred, an administration allowance (plan maintenance fees) is paid to Golden Charter Limited from The Golden Charter Trust Limited for the on-going maintenance and administration of live funeral plans for which the proceeds were paid into The Golden Charter Trust.
The plan maintenance fees are paid in recognition of the costs incurred by Golden Charter Limited in maintaining plans throughout the period between initial sale and maturity. These costs include the compliance requirements of maintaining plan-holder’s details, amendments to the wishes and arrangements for the delivery of the plan-holder’s funeral through the appointed funeral director, and settling the costs of the funeral director at the time of need.