Charity Review and Monitoring Service

Charity trustees face many of the same issues as other investors, such as setting an appropriate investment policy, reviewing portfolio performance, and monitoring investment managers. They also have to consider other distinct elements such as their tax regime, governance framework, regulatory environment and often a large number of (perhaps unidentified) stakeholders.

For this reason, we offer an investment consulting service which is tailored to each charity’s circumstances.

“Thank you for your report. The content and format is very thorough but it’s also incredibly user-friendly and set at the right level for the meeting. “

“It gives us great comfort to me know we have such a good team behind us.”

“Thank you for such creative thinking and for taking the care to present it so beautifully.”
“Best report we have ever seen. Clear and to the point.”
The process starts by establishing a thorough understanding of the charity’s situation including, amongst other things, investment objectives, governance framework, powers, preferences, ethical considerations and so on. The objective is to document these clearly to produce an Investment Policy Statement, or “IPS” which acts as a ‘blue print’ and gives unambiguous guidance concerning the intention of any investment-related arrangements. Once the IPS is established a formal review of the current portfolio is the usual starting point, the output of which includes specific observations, recommendations, and action points. We also create a ‘risk management dashboard’, so that the trustees have a clear idea of the investment issues and challenges facing them. Charity trustees often have multiple demands on their time and it is important that information is presented effectively, in a focused way, with clear guidance and actionable recommendations. As a firm directly authorised and regulated by the FCA, we are able to ‘get off the fence’ and offer clear investment advice when needed.

We then work with trustees to implement any changes that are needed. We do not advocate change for the sake of it – it can be disruptive, costly, time consuming and not without risk. As such we often find ourselves working collaboratively with clients’ current investment managers to implement any appropriate changes, so maintaining what is often a good existing relationship and avoiding the time, risk and expense of a wholesale change of manager.

The ’final’ stage of our service is to provide ongoing advice, and monitoring and reporting of the investments to the trustees. The focus is on concise, digestible reports with clear recommendations and regular updates of the risk dashboard for the trustees.

Away from work, all the directors at JTFM have current voluntary charity experience, acting as trustees and/or sitting on investment committees.

Case Study

We work with a well-known animal charity and undertook an exercise to refresh the Investment Policy Statement (“IPS”), review the portfolio, instigate considerable change whilst retaining the incumbent investment manager, and help the trustees to monitor performance and adherence to that IPS. This case study aims to give a bit more detail about how we supported the charity in this instance with a ‘before and after’ summary.


  • Lower fees
  • Ability to implement nuanced, bespoke ethical restrictions
  • Simplified portfolio whilst retaining diversification

“Your report went down really well; it was clear, easy to understand, and highlighted all the issues we would expect. I think the trustees continue to value the input from JTFM, as do I”

Step 1: Review

  • We worked with the finance director and the trustees to understand their objectives, preferences, challenges and debate and develop their policy on ethical restrictions and ESG considerations.
  • It was agreed to separate out and ringfence cash and liquidity for near term capital projects. This had previously been confusing the mandate and reporting of the main long-term portfolio.
  • With that implemented, the trustees were able and willing to incrementally increase the return objectives of the long-term portfolio.
  • The trustees wanted clearly stated restrictions around animal testing/animal product which was proving hard to implement in a portfolio that invested in a large number of funds managed by third parties.
  • These funds were also contributing substantially to high overall costs of portfolio management.
  • However, performance had been good, the relationship was strong and the fees charged by the investment manager themselves were competitive.

Step 2: Change

  • After discussions and debate with both the trustees and the investment manager, an updated IPS was established with a higher return objective and clear ethical restrictions.
  • We then worked with the incumbent manager to refine their mandate and approach to implementation to adhere to that IPS.
  • The outcome was that the revised portfolio is much more transparent, the charity’s trustees are better informed on the nature and scope of their investments; are more engaged with the portfolio and have greater visibility with which to challenge their manager who in turn is running a portfolio much more aligned with the charity’s mission – a virtuous circle.
  • The reduction in the use of third party managed funds has also meant a substantial decrease in the charity’s overall total expense ratio.

Step 3: Monitoring

  • Due to inherent conflicts of interest, we believe that independent oversight and performance reporting is essential. The goal is to ensure the managers pursue a strategy which remains relevant to the client’s needs and objectives, for an appropriate level of risk.
  • Measuring historic performance in relation to stated objectives is relatively straightforward; staying on top of warning signs that may have an impact on a manager’s effectiveness and hence future results, is more challenging.
  • Our approach to monitoring client portfolios and their manager/s comprises the following elements:

– Ongoing monitoring
– Manager interviews
– Manager calls
– Qualitative portfolio review
– Free audit
– Transaction analysis
– Performance and risk analysis

  • In combination, the work that we undertake is designed to enable us to form a qualitative view of the future, as well as a quantitative review of the past.
  • We document the above elements in a written report, typically on a quarterly cycle with monthly ‘snapshot’ updates. Our reports are not intended to replace those produced by the managers. Rather, they aim to enable better understanding and discussion with them. We worked with a panel of clients and designers to ensure our reports are focused, easy to understand and additive.

Get in touch

We are always happy to have an initial discussion on a “no obligation” basis. Please feel free to contact one of the team.