Register For Our Mailing List

Register to receive our free weekly newsletter including editorials.

Home / 304

Five charity-supporting investment vehicles

In 2019, charities and not-for-profits will benefit from around $20 million in donations as charity-supporting investment vehicles come of age. The beauty of it? No investor has to write a cheque while the money is effectively and efficiently managed to the benefit of a wide range of stakeholders.

What is a charity-supporting investment vehicle?

Rather than the fund managers receiving a management fee, it is redistributed directly to charities, providing them with a sustainable and growing income source. This year more than $1.6 billion worth of investments have gone through the five existing vehicles in Australia, serving the dual purpose of delivering investments returns as well as social returns via charitable donations.

Click to enlarge

Consider the three main stakeholders in the structure.

1. From the fund manager's point of view

The costs to a single fund manager of investing additional funds or sharing intellectual property is negligible, although the access and knowledge are valuable. To date more than 30 fund managers have embraced the opportunity to support one of the charity-supporting equity investments in Australia. They ‘give back’ to the charitable sector through a mechanism other than writing a cheque.

2. From the investor's point of view

In our role as advisers, we stress that first and foremost an investment product needs to be considered on its merits and be appropriate in the context of a client’s overall portfolio and investment objectives.

The charitable donation tail does not wag the investment dog. That said, the investment managers who sit behind these vehicles are generally good quality and, in some cases, include managers who have otherwise reached capacity and are no longer taking new money from investors.

When this type of investment fits with a portfolio, the investment serves two purposes: it is part of an investment portfolio and it is effectively ‘passive giving’. This is beneficial for investors who have a portfolio of assets serving charitable purposes such as Private Ancillary funds, other Foundation or purpose-driven organisations, but only when it fits with their existing investment strategy.

3. From the charity's point of view

The income stream from this type of donor can be a reliable source of income with a growth prospect in line with the investment. Furthermore, the charity is tapping into a new world of passive donors who may have invested on the merits of investment product alone and who would not otherwise be an active or engaged donor.

History of charity-supporting investment vehicles in Australia

Cuffelinks co-founder Chris Cuffe AO was at the forefront of this innovation. He was the key driver in the creation and ongoing success of the first investment vehicle that generated donations to charities, Third Link, in 2008. By 31 December 2018, Third Link had donated over $10 million to Australian charities.

The structure of Third Link is an unlisted unit trust investing in domestic markets. It has an investment track record of market outperformance and supports children’s charities recommended by Australian Philanthropic Services. Although initially an open-ended unit trust, it is now closed for new investments having reached its target size. Fund managers also waive performance fees, which can otherwise be high, and many of the managers are not easy to access directly.

Wilson Asset Management Chairman Geoff Wilson AO created Future Generation Investment Company (ASX:FGX) and its sibling the Future Generation Global Investment Company (ASX:FGG) both under the Listed Investment Company (LIC) structure.

The fund of funds model sees FGX and FGG invest with leading Australian and global fund managers respectively. The management and performance fees waived by the fund managers exceed the companies’ annual investment in charities representing 1% of assets, to the benefit of investors. The two companies have donated $21 million since 2014 to youth at risk and mental health causes respectively.

Investments in FGX and FGG are diversified across Australian and global equity managers respectively, with managers each covering three broad types of strategy – long equities, absolute bias and market neutral. At times it will take cash positions to minimise volatility.

FGX and FGG differ to other charity-supporting investments available today in one key area. Where investors hold more than 1 million shares in either company, that investor can decide which charity the donation goes to. In the case of a charity investing their corpus, the ‘fee’ can be returned to the charity in the form of a donation – effectively giving fee-free investment management.

The ORAH fund (an unlisted managed investment scheme) is specifically aimed at supporting Jewish causes. As a relatively small fund of funds, it has been able to invest with specialist equity managers including some that are otherwise capacity-constrained.

The most recent innovation is the LIC, Heart and Minds Investments (ASX:HM1). This offering is unique because instead of offering a diversified mix of managers and funds, it holds a more concentrated portfolio of around 25 high conviction securities selected by leading fund managers in Australia and overseas. Donations from Hearts and Minds Investments are directed to Australian medical research institutes. At its current size of about $600 million, it will give away about $8 million a year. Chris Cuffe is the Chair and Geoff Wilson is also on the Board.

A potential win-win for all

The generosity of the funds management community combined with the innovation and drive of committed individuals in the financial sector has been the key to the success of these investment products.

For all investors, the potential returns from the investment and an understanding of the risks are paramount but having made the investment decision the ability to generate both an investment return and a social return is compelling.

 

Bernie Connolly is Executive Director and Financial Adviser at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. This article is general information and does not consider the circumstances of any individual.

 


 

Leave a Comment:

     

RELATED ARTICLES

Charlie Munger and stock picks at the Sohn Conference

8 factors to consider when assessing LICs

Last minute tax deductions in a public ancillary fund

banner

Most viewed in recent weeks

Lessons when a fund manager of the year is down 25%

Every successful fund manager suffers periods of underperformance, and investors who jump from fund to fund chasing results are likely to do badly. Selecting a manager is a long-term decision but what else?

2022 election survey results: disillusion and disappointment

In almost 1,000 responses, our readers differ in voting intentions versus polling of the general population, but they have little doubt who will win and there is widespread disappointment with our politics.

Now you can earn 5% on bonds but stay with quality

Conservative investors who want the greater capital security of bonds can now lock in 5% but they should stay at the higher end of credit quality. Rises in rates and defaults mean it's not as easy as it looks.

30 ETFs in one ecosystem but is there a favourite?

In the last decade, ETFs have become a mainstay of many portfolios, with broad market access to most asset types, as well as a wide array of sectors and themes. Is there a favourite of a CEO who oversees 30 funds?

Betting markets as election predictors

Believe it or not, betting agencies are in the business of making money, not predicting outcomes. Is there anything we can learn from the current odds on the election results?

Meg on SMSFs – More on future-proofing your fund

Single-member SMSFs face challenges where the eventual beneficiaries (or support team in the event of incapacity) will be the member’s adult children. Even worse, what happens if one or more of the children live overseas?

Latest Updates

Superannuation

'It’s your money' schemes transfer super from young to old

With the Coalition losing the 2022 election, its policy to allow young people to access super goes back on the shelf. But lowering the downsizer age to 55 was supported by Labor. Check the merits of both policies.

Investment strategies

Rising recession risk and what it means for your portfolio

In this environment, safe-haven assets like Government bonds act as a diversifier given the uncorrelated nature to equities during periods of risk-off, while offering a yield above term deposit rates.

Investment strategies

‘Multidiscipline’: the secret of Bezos' and Buffett’s wild success

A key attribute of great investors is the ability to abstract away the specifics of a particular domain, leaving only the important underlying principles upon which great investments can be made.

Superannuation

Keep mandatory super pension drawdowns halved

The Transfer Balance Cap limits the tax concessions available in super pension funds, removing the need for large, compulsory drawdowns. Plus there are no requirements to draw money out of an accumulation fund.

Shares

Confession season is upon us: What’s next for equity markets

Companies tend to pre-position weak results ahead of 30 June, leading to earnings downgrades. The next two months will be critical for investors as a shift from ‘great expectations’ to ‘clear explanations’ gets underway.

Economy

Australia, the Lucky Country again?

We may have been extremely unlucky with the unforgiving weather plaguing the East Coast of Australia this year. However, on the economic front we are by many measures in a strong position relative to the rest of the world.

Exchange traded products

LIC discounts widening with the market sell-off

Discounts on LICs and LITs vary with market conditions, and many prominent managers have seen the value of their assets fall as well as discount widen. There may be opportunities for gains if discounts narrow.

Sponsors

Alliances

© 2022 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer
The data, research and opinions provided here are for information purposes; are not an offer to buy or sell a security; and are not warranted to be correct, complete or accurate. Morningstar, its affiliates, and third-party content providers are not responsible for any investment decisions, damages or losses resulting from, or related to, the data and analyses or their use. Any general advice or ‘regulated financial advice’ under New Zealand law has been prepared by Morningstar Australasia Pty Ltd (ABN: 95 090 665 544, AFSL: 240892) and/or Morningstar Research Ltd, subsidiaries of Morningstar, Inc, without reference to your objectives, financial situation or needs. For more information refer to our Financial Services Guide (AU) and Financial Advice Provider Disclosure Statement (NZ). You should consider the advice in light of these matters and if applicable, the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before making any decision to invest. Past performance does not necessarily indicate a financial product’s future performance. To obtain advice tailored to your situation, contact a professional financial adviser. Articles are current as at date of publication.
This website contains information and opinions provided by third parties. Inclusion of this information does not necessarily represent Morningstar’s positions, strategies or opinions and should not be considered an endorsement by Morningstar.

Website Development by Master Publisher.