The Four Regions Trust | Investment growth that benefits the community

Investments made by the Four Regions Trust, formerly the Powerco Wanganui Trust, have grown substantially thanks to the governance of a skilled team.

The seven trustees of the trust are appointed for a period of up to nine years and work closely with their investment partners, Craig’s Investment Partners (Whanganui) and MCA Investments (Auckland), as well as James Bowen and the team at Moore Stephens Markhams. James is also the Trust secretary.

The Four Regions Trust covers a geographical area of Whanganui, Rangitikei, Waverley, Waitotara and Waimarino.

Dot McKinnon is the Trust’s chair and has been a trustee for the past nine years. It’s the best job she’s ever had she says. “Our trustees love their work: it is very exciting to be able to give money to help our communities. When we have our annual meetings, we invite people we’ve given funds to and we frequently have over 50 attending. Many get up and say how fantastic we are. That makes us feel very privileged!”

Two of Dot’s goals when she took up her role in 2010 were to grow the balance of the funds ($9.9 million in 2005 has increased to $35 million today) and to donate funds to the community annually.

“We usually give at least one million dollars to the community annually and ensure growth on growth of our investment fund. In fact, every year it increases; some years are better than others, depending on international markets, foreign exchange and the economic climate.”

The need out there is great she says. “It does not matter how much money we put in, it’s really hard for communities to support those in need. They need every bit of help they can get.

”All our trustees are very community focused and some are farmers or live rurally. This gives us a better understanding of what rural communities need. They are less likely to be able to get funds compared with those in urban communities, which have greater access to funding.

“We do our best to support both the rural and urban sectors, whether the funds are for sports grounds, a marae, kindergartens, facilities, social organisations, community events or schools.”

All beneficiaries of trust funding must be charitable organisations or incorporated societies.

The Four Regions Trust relies on Craig’s Investment Partners and MCA Investments for all their financial and investment advice.  “We have invested conservatively and have done well by following that guideline,” says Dot.

Moore Stephens Markhams plays a vital role in helping the trustees to administer the Four Regions Trust.

Dot explains, “The trustees all have careers or run businesses so we prefer to delegate the finer details to Moore Stephens Markhams. They carry out all the secretariat administration: the online applications, checking applications, Internet Technology and agreed payments. Our accounts are independently audited so there is always an oversight of our accounts.

James_Bowen_Wanganui2-300x300.jpg“James Bowen is present at the four meetings we have during the year. We also communicate with him regularly through the year concerning various applications. We have a very good, long-term working relationship.”

A spinoff from her involvement with the Four Regions Trust that Dot really enjoys is getting out in the community to see what people have achieved from their funding.  Sometimes she is asked to try out activities such as sliding on a new hydroslide or cycling.“It’s fun and very rewarding,” she says.

www.fourregionstrust.org.nz