2020 FINANCIAL REVIEW
The Society’s budget aims to fund all its events (lectures, dinners, trips etc) and grants from its income, the two major streams of which are the dividend income and subscriptions. The events expenditure is substantially offset by income. This budget omits the payment made during the year to the investment advisers which means that annually overall expenditure often exceeds income. This year has been an exceptional year positively in respect of additional cost for activities as part of the Bicentenary celebrations, but also we have experienced the unfortunate impact of the pandemic with lectures and events being cancelled and a few grants have been returned.
Dividends from investments within the financial year amounted to £12,563 (a reduction of 14% on the previous year, probably as a result of Covid) and subscriptions and donations (including gift aid refund) to £4,098. Total income was £18,549 (a 12% reduction on the previous year). Total expenditure was £32,256 (7% more than that in the previous year).There were 18 grants awarded during the financial year, though 5 have been returned in part or full. The net grants sum paid was £11,477. The Bicentenary Fund stood at £2,155 at the beginning of the financial year and the net spend during the year on Bicentenary activities was £6,660, involving a transfer of £4,505 from the General Fund.
The total value of the Society’s investment portfolio (investments and cash held) declined substantially this year due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and now stands at £441,257, a decrease of 10.16%.
The Society’s financial position has been monitored regularly by the Council.
The Society’s reserves comprise an unrestricted fund derived from past benefactions and its annual subscriptions, including the proceeds from the sale of the Philosophical Hall to Leeds City Council in 1921. The fund increased in value over the years as income exceeded expenditure and the value of investments increased. Since the Society adopted its new constitution in 1997, Council’s aim in the medium term has been to fund its activities as described above and to sustain/increase the capital value of its investments whilst using all the annual dividend income to promote the in-year activities. The Society’s income and expenditure do, however, vary from year to year depending on several factors. This year income and expenditure has been impacted by the current Covid-19 pandemic. The Council therefore considers it prudent to hold modest liquid reserves with Lloyds Bank.
There are no restrictions in the Society’s Memorandum and Articles on the Society’s power to invest. The Council’s investment objectives are to maintain a level of dividend income sufficient to contribute substantially to the Society’s activities, while promoting the capital value of its invested assets over the long term. To this end, it is the Society’s normal practice to reinvest realised gains on its assets. The Council has delegated the management of its investments on a discretionary basis to Investec Wealth and Investment.
1) Income: The investment managers pursue an active investment policy to generate income on the Society’s behalf. The outcomes are regularly reviewed by the Trustees.
2) Expenditure: Expenditure on individual events and grants usually represents a small part of total expenditure and risks are minimised by standard procedures for authorisation of all financial transactions. The potential risks at the Society’s events are considered as part of the planning for them, and appropriate steps are taken, including the arrangement of Public Liability insurance as necessary.
3) The quality of the Society’s events and the outcome of grants that have been awarded are reviewed by the Trustees, and details published in the Annual Review, so as to ensure that all the Society’s activities are of a high standard consonant with its Aims.
The Society has taken advantage of the small companies’ exemption in preparing this Directors’ Report.
Approved by the members of the Council on 5 November 2020 and signed on their behalf by
G E Blair (President) and J E Lydon (Secretary)