Lessons Learnt - 2013

As we progressed through 2013 some important lessons came to light. One centered on ethical issues, another focused on active versus passive management of investment portfolios, whilst the third provided some interesting analysis on portfolio volatility.

In this article we discuss the ethical, and active versus passive management approaches of investment portfolios and how we believe they are linked.


The Challenge of Change for Charities

The role of the Change Manager is often misunderstood, but here is a reassuring view of how they work, and what is involved in this sensitive area of management.

Many of us have worked for, or had contact with, charities or organisations that seem stuck with a “we’ve-always-done-it-like-this” approach, have ceased to be effective, or are even approaching a state of crisis which threatens their future.


When is Advice Independent?

This article looks in detail at the perils and pitfalls of not taking independent investment advice for your charity, and gives you the six key areas of focus which define that independence.

Recently a friend of mine asked me to look over some documents sent from his investment manager for the charity that he was running. I found myself in the delicate position of suggesting that the advice was possibly not in the best interests of the charity at that time. This led to a long discussion, but also had me wondering how many more organisations receive advice from their investment manager which is both truly independent, and in the best interests of the organisation.


The China Effect

Back in 2009 I wrote a blog warning of the dangers of investing in China referring to it as the new Russia of the late 1990’s. Since then there have undoubtedly been improvements in the opportunities to invest in China…but should we? 

As the world entered a global recession (or what felt like one) and still continues to be in one, there were parts of the world that still continued to grow - China being one of them. The reason? Under orders from the government, China's banks flooded the economy with credit in 2010.


Economic Doldrums?

What an Olympics London had in August, with 44 world records, 204 nations competing, USA finishing first and the UK having one of its biggest medal hauls of all times! Top that off with sensational opening and closing ceremonies and similar success in the Paralympics, and the world feels a better place... or does it?

Economic news is still not great, manufacturing down, China slowing, India has infrastructure issues, Europe ... well let's not go there! After the euphoria of the Olympics it seems that we have all come back down to earth with a bit of a bump!


Essentials of a Funding Plan

"Under-funding threatens the very survival of charities delivering public services. Charities themselves, commissioning authorities and Government all have to address this urgently" so Dame Suzi Leather memorably reminded us at the NCVO Conference in 2009 - words that are as true in 2012 as the day she gave her speech.

This article will look at the full spectrum of funding available to not-for-profits and those issues that organisations should consider before embarking on any of these funding routes.


Business Planning - How to put the 'Business' into Planning

"Business Planning" appears to be a straightforward phrase. It suggests you should do some planning if you want to do something to build up your business. Sounds easy?

Many charities think that developing a plan means thinking up ideas on how to help further a cause. Once the ideas have been documented, throw in some objectives and milestones and things should roll on nicely. The well intentioned document then follows the Dilbert Principle which states: "There are two major steps to building a Business Plan, 1) gather information 2) ignore it."