Consolidated Trust Fund

Many people in the Diocese of Ottawa are familiar with the term Consolidated Trust Fund (CTF) but are not quite sure why the Fund exists or how it works.

The Consolidated Trust Fund was established in 1970 to assist parishes in the task of managing and investing sums received in trust, a bequest or a sale of property (usually a rectory).

The Property and Finance Committee (PFC) of the Diocese is responsible for the CTF. The Investment Subcommittee of the PFC carries out this responsibly on its behalf. The subcommittee consists of the Bishop and at least eight other well qualified people, both lay and clergy members. The subcommittee meets quarterly, or more often if necessary, to monitor the performance of the investments and to make recommendations to PFC about investment policy and other related matters as required. In addition, the subcommittee recommends to PFC the CTF's annual distribution (dividend) rate.

The CTF is primarily comprised of numerous trusts and bequests. A portion of the fund is made up of proceeds from the sale of rectories. Each time a parish makes a contribution to the Consolidated Trust Fund, it is credited with a certain number of units of the fund based on the unit value at the end of the quarter in which the monies are received. The approved annual distribution is paid quarterly to the underlying holding trust or bequest, based on the number of units held by trust or bequest. For example, if a trust had deposited $20,000 to the CTF when the unit value was $20.00, they would hold 1,000 units. If the annual distribution were set at 70 cents per unit, the parish would receive a total of $700 per year in distribution payouts with $175 being paid each quarter. In the case of a rectory trust, the income is used to assist with the incumbent's housing allowance.

The Investment Policy Statement outlines the objectives of the fund as well as specifics regarding its asset mix. This policy guides the money managers in investment of the assets. The portfolio is invested to provide income as well asto preserve the capital for the long term, taking inflation into consideration. Although a balanced portfolio employs diversification to reduce risk, the unit values of the CTF can fluctuate up and down in the short term depending on market circumstances, and on how much is distributed. Its "total net return" combines the annual change in value of the units (after deducting investment management fees and the Diocese administration fee) as well as the annual distribution paid out to the unit holder. This reflects the total benefit gained by holding units in the CTF.

The CTF has grown significantly over the years, and reached its highest ever year-end value of $32.6 million in December 2014. The number of units outstanding has also grown substantially, to almost 1.5 million at the end of 2014. An annual distribution has been paid to unit holders every year, although the amount has varied. Over the ten years ending December 2014, the distribution rate has ranged from a high of 5.1% in 2008 to a low of 2.75% in 2014, with the average over the last 5-year period of 3.41%. The total net return on investment has averaged 6.65% over the same period.

In 2013, the Investment Subcommittee, with the support of the PFC, began applying environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria to the investment decisions regarding Canadian and U.S. equities investments. This has been formally incorporated into the Investment Policy Statement in the fall of 2014.

The CTF has become an integral part of the financial strength of the Diocese. If you have any questions about it, please do not hesitate to contact Tony Maxwell, Chair of the Investment Subcommittee at tonymax44@gmail.com or the Director of Financial Ministry at 613-232-7124 Ext. 241.

Consolidated Trust Fund deposit form (pdf)

CTF performance summary (.xls)

CTF Financial Statements - 2014 (pdf)



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