Report of the Bridge House Estates & Charities Finance Director (representing The Chamberlain) and the Managing Director, Bridge House Estates
Members received a Joint Report of the Bridge House Estates (BHE) & Charities Finance Director (representing The Chamberlain) and the Managing Director, Bridge House Estates relative to the Bridge House Estates Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2021-22.
The BHE & Charities Finance Director reminded Members of the standing reference made to the Audit and Risk Management Committee by the BHE Board to review and recommend the BHE Annual Report and Financial Statements.
Members noted the highlights from the report.
The Chairman asked if BHE was spending more than its income or if it was using its capital appreciation. In reply, the BHE & Charities Finance Director said that the returns BHE received on its financial investments were not split between income and capital growth, with the overall return being added to the balance sheet value of these investments as a result. The financial investments that BHE held were mainly backing its income reserves, the full value of which were available for BHE to spend in line with Charity Commission requirements to utilise income reserves. The current basis on which BHE held investments to support its endowment fund meant that it could not access that capital growth. However, BHE was currently in the final stages of receiving approval to its Supplemental Royal Charter, which would grant it a new power to enable it to access the latter funds. A policy on this will be presented to the BHE Board and the Court of Common Council for approval.
The Chairman said that he would have liked to have seen greater emphasis in the report on the uniqueness of BHE as a charity, and that it is a top ten UK charity by asset value. The BHE & Charities Finance Director responded to say that being in the top ten was not an aim or objective of BHE. She added that BHE’s value would reduce as it made further grant commitments. A Member said that while the exact ranking did not matter, it was a way of communicating the size of the charity to outsiders and benchmarking it against other charities. The Chamberlain added that there were different metrics on which BHE’s size could be measured. A Member, also Deputy Chairman of the BHE Board, said that he would take the concerns of the Audit and Risk Management Committee back to the BHE Board.
A Member asked if there was any work of BHE that had any impact on or relationship with the Destination City programme. The BHE & Charities Finance Director replied that Tower Bridge had been heavily involved with the Golden Key launch event for Destination City. However, Destination City as a programme did not specifically fit with the objects of BHE, though there may be some areas where the two could work together.
The External Auditors provided Members with an oversight of their work with BHE. It was noted that they had not found any issues.
RESOLVED, that – Members: