«Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Report of the Board of Management and Summarised Financial Statements For the year ended 31 December 2015 ...»
- Elected Fellow of the Royal Society Dr Apala Majumdar (2006 – 2008)
- Awarded Anne Bennett Prize, London Mathematical Society Professor Gavin Morley (2009 – 2012)
- Appointed Associate Professor, Department of Physics, University of Warwick Dr Rachel Oliver (2003 – 2005)
- Awarded Royal Academy of Engineering/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship Professor Sarah Perrett (1999 – 2002)
- Awarded OBE in New Year’s Honours List, for services to UK/China relations in the scientific field
- Awarded Chinese Academy of Sciences Young International Scientific Collaborator Prize Dr Amanda Seed (2007 – 2009)
- Awarded ERC Starting Grant Professor Stephen Sparks (1974 – 1976)
- Awarded Vetlesen Prize Professor Dominic Vella (2007 – 2009)
- Awarded Whitehead Prize, London Mathematical Society
- Awarded ERC Starting Grant
Professor Jennifer Martin (1986 – 1989)
- Appointed Director, Eskitis Drug Discovery Institute, Griffith University, Brisbane Dr Gershom Sleightholme-Albanis (1987 – 1990)
- Appointed Senior Expert Examiner, European Patent Office
Dr Mark Briers (2003 – 2005)
- Appointed Honorary Senior Lecturer, Department of Mathematics (Statistics Section), Imperial College London Dr Daniel Graham (2011 – 2014)
- Appointed Technology Manager - Metallic and Hybrid Airframe (Europe), GKN Aerospace Dr Stephen Franklin (1995 – 1996)
- Achieved AIM listing for Evgen Pharma
Industrial Design Students
Ben Alun-Jones (2011 – 2012) & Hal Watts (2010 – 2012)
- Duke of York’s Pitch @Palace Award (for Unmade) Nell Bennett & Jack Hooper (2012-2014)
- Duke of York’s Pitch@Palace People’s Choice Award (for Doppel)
- Shortlisted London Innovators’ Product of the Year (for Doppel)
- Shortlisted Best Start Up Award, 2015 Wearables Show (for Doppel) Stefan Dzisiewski-Smith (2007 – 2009)
- Appointed Head of Technology, Bare Conductive Richard Luxton (1996 – 1998)
- Red Dot Award: Product Design (for FitQuest)
Michael Korn (2011 – 2012)
- Runner-up, Shell LiveWIRE top 10 innovators international competition Report by the Chairman of the Finance Committee Organisation The Board of Management has appointed the Finance Committee as a sub-committee to supervise the Commission’s finances and investments; this Committee meets at least twice a year and during 2015 met two times.
The Commission’s Auditors In 2008, Kingston Smith LLP was appointed the Commission’s auditors following a competitive tender. The audit partner meets with the Finance Committee at least once each year. In the interests of good governance the audit manager changes at least every five years and the audit partner at least every ten years.
Sources of Funding The Commission’s income and gains derive primarily from its investment portfolio. In 2015, property (the Commission’s estate) made up 15%, cash 2% and stock market investments and bonds 83% of the capital assets (for 2014 the corresponding figures were 14%, 0% and 86% respectively).
Reserves Policy The total funds at the balance sheet date were £92,699,461 (2014: £94,248,011).
As noted above, these funds originated from the surplus arising from the Great Exhibition of 1851 and have been enhanced by careful stewardship of the assets invested over many years. They are technically unrestricted, giving the Commissioners the ability to spend the funds as they wish in fulfilment of the charitable objectives of the Commission. In order to balance the needs of current and potential future beneficiaries of the charity, the Commissioners recognise the need to maintain a strong capital base so as to deliver an appropriate level of return to enable the Commission to continue to fulfil its charitable objectives on a long term basis. Accordingly, all of the Commission’s funds are invested in line with the investment policy described below and normal expenditure commitments are set to match the assumed average return above inflation delivered by the portfolio.
Given the Commission’s flexibility to spend capital if required, the Commissioners do not consider that there is any merit in identifying an optimum level of free reserves that might be readily available if required, but will respond appropriately to spending needs identified as and when circumstances arise.
Investment Policy The Commission’s overall investment objective is to achieve sufficient total returns to fund its existing award programmes whilst also protecting the capital value of its portfolio for the benefit of future beneficiaries. The Commission reviews its asset allocation and manager selection on a regular basis with this objective in mind.
The Commission has determined that a strategic asset allocation biased heavily in favour of ‘real’ assets (equities, properties, commodities, hedge funds etc) as opposed to ‘nominal’ assets (cash, bonds etc) gives it the best chance of meeting its overall investment objective. In order to ensure sufficient liquidity that grant commitments should always be able to be met without the need to sell assets at distressed prices, Commissioners have determined that a minimum of £10m should be held in ‘nominal’ assets such as cash and bonds; beyond this, it is expected that the portfolio will normally comprise ‘real’ assets.
As at the balance sheet date, the Commission’s portfolio was spread across three investment managers: a global equity fund of approximately £44m managed by Schroders (C.I.) Ltd; a portfolio of exchange traded funds of approximately £26m actively managed by Charles Stanley Pan-Asset and an investment in a strategic bond fund of approximately £10m managed by JP Morgan Asset Management Ltd. The Commission also owns the freehold of various properties on its legacy estate in South Kensington valued at £14m.
The overall portfolio targets an absolute annual return of RPI + 4%, after all charges, with an annual income target of around 3%. Each fund manager also compares performance against appropriate market and sector benchmarks.
The Commission expects its investment managers to take governance considerations into account when evaluating investments but has not adopted specific social, environmental or ethical criteria as its charitable purposes and activities encompass support for all legal enterprises that involve a scientific, engineering or design element.
Disbursement policy The Commission’s long term aim is to disburse approximately 4% per annum of the trailing threeyear average closing capital value of its investment portfolio.
Liquidity is maintained at a sufficient level to ensure the cash outside the investment portfolio is enough to cover short-term expenditure.
Comments on the Results for the Year The annual income generated in 2015 by the Commission’s assets was £2,603,902 or approximately 2.7% of opening portfolio value (2014: £2,714,294, 3.2%), slightly below the target. This reflects a marginal shift in underlying assets away from income yielding bonds to equity based ETFs targeting growth.
Expenditure on raising funds – which primarily comprises investment and property management fees – increased from £440,844 to £482,330. This increase primarily reflects the full year effect of increases in assets under management through 2014.
Total expenditure on charitable activities of £2,795,397 was £553,919 more than the previous year, primarily reflecting the introduction of Enterprise Fellowships, the award of a full complement of Research Fellowships and the granting of more high value Special Awards.
Overall, there was a deficit before other recognised gains and losses of £673,825 (2014: surplus of £31,972). As explained above, the Commission’s disbursement rate is higher than its income target and deficits are therefore to be expected. Over the long term, these deficits should be counterbalanced by investment gains. In 2015, however, the Commission’s investment portfolio suffered losses of £1,778,434 (2014: gains of £4,154,920) which were only partially offset by revaluation gains on directly held property of £866,718 (2014: gains of £7,106,884). When actuarial gains of £36,991 (2014: losses of £39,176) are also taken into account, this leaves a net decrease in funds after all income and expenditure and other recognised gains and losses of £1,548,550 (2014: net increase in funds of £11,254,600). As explained above, the Commission plans its award programmes based on an assumed rate of return on the portfolio; given the real world volatility of stock markets, however, significant surpluses and deficits from year to year are to be anticipated.
Overview 2015 was a difficult year for investors, with all major stock markets experiencing significant volatility. The Commission’s small hedge fund investment performed particularly poorly and was a drag on overall performance; it was redeemed during the year. Towards the end of the year the Commission reduced its nominal asset holdings to the minimum level permitted under its investment policy in anticipation of future interest rate rises and the negative impact on bond values that will result.
Overall the Commission achieved a total return of approximately 1.4%, ahead of the MSCI AC World index (0.6%), FTSE All Share Index (1.0%) and LIBOR (0.5%) and indeed ahead of the ARC Equity Risk Charity Index (1.0%) but below other peer group benchmarks such as the WM Charity Fund Universe ex Property (3.4%) and well below the RPI + 4% target for the year of 5.2%. This contrasts with 2014 when the total return was 16.7%, compared to a target of 5.6%, a FTSE All Share return of 1.2%, MSCI World AC Net Total Return of 11.3%, a LIBOR rate of 0.5%, ARC Equity Risk Charity Index of 4.5% and WM Charity Fund Universe ex Property of 5.7%.
While below target performance is always disappointing, some volatility is to be expected; looking at the last four years together, since the current investment policy was established, the value of the portfolio has grown by a little over 7.8% pa, well above the 2.1% pa rate required to keep pace with inflation. The Commission’s financial position remains strong therefore and the portfolio is positioned to capture returns over the long term.
Disbursements during the year rose significantly, to 3.5% of the trailing three year average closing capital value of the portfolio compared to a target of 4.0% (2014: disbursements of 3.0% compared to a target of 4.0%). With a full complement of Research Fellowships, a higher number of Industrial Fellowships than ever before, the introduction of Enterprise Fellowships in conjunction with the Royal Academy of Engineering, and a significant number of high value special awards this was a very encouraging performance – and one that should generate significant impact, as the research summaries earlier in this report amply demonstrate. Of course there remains room to increase disbursements further and Commissioners will be conscious of this over the coming year. The under spend from 2015 will be carried forward for future use.
The Annual Report on pages 2 to 25 and 30 to 34 was approved by the Commissioners on 6 July 2016.
Sir William Castell LVO
Commissioners’ Statement on the Summarised Accounts
These summarised accounts are not the statutory financial statements but a summary of information relating to the Statement of Financial Activities and the Balance Sheet. The full accounts were prepared under the historical cost convention as modified by the revaluation of certain fixed assets and in accordance with the Financial Reporting Standard for Smaller Entities and the requirements of the Statement of Recommended Practice for Accounting and Reporting by Charities.
The full financial statements were approved on 6 July 2016 for submission to the Charity Commission. The full statutory accounts have been audited and received an unqualified report from the auditors, Kingston Smith LLP, who have also confirmed to the Commissioners that the summary financial information is consistent with the full statutory accounts.
These summarised accounts may not contain sufficient information to allow for a full understanding of the financial affairs of the Commission. For further information the full annual accounts and the auditor’s report on those accounts should be consulted; copies of these can be obtained from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851.
The Board of Commissioners 6 July 2016
We have examined the summarised financial statements of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 for the year ended 31 December 2015.
Respective responsibilities of the Commissioners and the auditor The Commissioners are responsible for preparing the summarised financial statements in accordance with applicable United Kingdom law and the recommendations of the Charities SORP.
Our responsibility is to report to you our opinion on the consistency of the summarised financial statements with the full financial statements and Commissioners’ Report.
We conducted our work in accordance with Practice Note 11 “The audit of charities in the United Kingdom”, issued by the Auditing Practices Board. Our report on the full annual financial statements describes the basis of our opinion on those financial statements and annual report.
1,230,483 1,340,283 Liabilities Creditors: Amounts falling due within one year (2,039,293) (1,896,861)
Structure, Governance and Management The Commission is constituted as a limited company incorporated by Royal Charter. Its governing documents are the original Charter dated 3 January 1850 and a Supplemental Charter dated 2 December 1851.
The Commission may have up to twelve trustees, known as Royal Commissioners, at any one time, who together constitute the Board of Management, which meets formally twice a year.
Commissioners are chosen to bring wide experience in areas relevant to the Commission’s work – science, engineering, industry, design and finance. To maintain an appropriate balance of skills, Commissioners normally serve for 10 years, and Commissioners themselves identify possible successors, who may serve on a committee prior to election. Following election by the Board of Management, Commissioners are only appointed with the approval of the President.