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Charities in England and Wales Given New Status

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A Kent-based charity – appropriately named ‘Challenge to Change’ – has become the first registered charity in England and Wales to incorporate as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). The new legal status for charities, offered by the Charity Commission, follows legislation laid down by the Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, in October 2012. It allows charities to incorporate, thereby limiting their liabilities. Previously, charities which wished to limit their liabilities, required dual registration, both as a charity with the Charity Commission, and as a company limited by guarantee, with Companies House.

Challenge to Change has operated as a charitable trust for about four years, supporting poor communities in Vietnam to adapt to climate change. Graham Adutt, Director of Challenge to Change, explained why the organisation decided to incorporate:

“Our local staff in Vietnam are regularly out on motorcycles in rural and coastal areas, working with poor and vulnerable communities. Our staff are insured, but we could never be fully confident that an insurance company would pay up when they should. Other risks include management of donor funds. We have good financial management systems in place, but there is sometimes a risk that our donors could disagree on our expenditures, and might want funds returned. While we were a Charitable Trust, our Trustees have faced these significant personal financial risks. They are not millionaires, and we don’t think they should be required to take on such risk, as a result of volunteering to work as Charity Trustees.”

Adutt is surprised it has taken so long for charities to be able to incorporate easily, and is glad the framework is now available. The situation of Challenge to Change may be typical of modern medium-sized charities which seek to minimise their administrative overheads and increase their efficiency.

“We didn’t want to be accountable to two different institutions – the Charity Commission and Companies House”, says Adutt. “We try to spend as much of our time as possible on projects and programmes, not on administration.”

This is the second ‘window’ for charity registration as a CIO. The first window opened in January, and was available for brand new charities with annual income of over £5,000. This second window, from 1st March, is for existing charities with annual income of between £250,000 and £500,000, to transform into the new legal structure.

 

 

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Oil extends losses on worry over possible supply increase from OPEC

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Oil extends losses on worry over possible supply increase from OPEC 1

By Yuka Obayashi

TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices fell more than 1% on Tuesday, extending losses that began last week, as investors unwound long positions on concern that OPEC may agree to increase global supply in a meeting this week and Chinese demand may be slipping.

Brent crude dropped 78 cents, or 1.2%, to $62.91 a barrel by 0138 GMT, after losing 1.1% the previous day. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude slid 74 cents, or 1.2%, to $59.90 a barrel, having lost 1.4% on Monday.

Investors are worried the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, will boost oil output, said Hiroyuki Kikukawa, general manager of research at Nissan Securities.

“Oil prices remained under pressure as investors were making position adjustments ahead of the OPEC meeting,” he said.

The group meets on Thursday and could discuss allowing as much as 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude back into the market.

OPEC oil output fell in February as a voluntary cut by Saudi Arabia added to reductions agreed to under the previous OPEC+ pact, a Reuters survey found, ending a run of seven consecutive monthly increases.

Market sentiment was also dampened by weak manufacturing data out of China, Nissan Securities’ Kikukawa said.

China’s factory activity growth slipped to a nine-month low in February, which may curtail Chinese crude demand and pressure oil prices.

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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Brexodus from City of London to the EU slows

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Brexodus from City of London to the EU slows 2

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – The shift in financial staff and assets from the City of London to the European Union because of Brexit has eased after Britain completed its full departure from the bloc, a tracker from consultants EY showed on Tuesday.

Financial services are not included in the EU-UK trade deal that came into effect on Jan. 1, largely cutting off the City from the EU.

Financial firms in Britain have opened subsidiaries in the EU, with Dublin and Luxembourg the most popular destinations, EY said.

“After the major hurdle of standing up new EU hubs, the days of significant swathes of asset and job relocation announcements appear to have passed and will likely be replaced by the slower yet ongoing movement of people and assets to Europe for compliance purposes,” Omar Ali, a financial services managing partner at EY, said.

EY said in its latest Brexit Tracker that job moves have risen to almost 7,600, up by 100 since October, while the number of new hires in Europe since Britain’s EU referendum in 2016 remains flat at around 2,850 new jobs.

The loss is a small fraction of total jobs in British financial services and is far lower than initial predictions.

There was also an incremental rise in the relocation of assets, now totalling almost 1.3 trillion pounds ($1.82 trillion), up from 1.2 trillion pounds previously, EY said.

On Jan. 4, more than 8 billion euros ($9.63 billion) in daily share trading shifted from London to Amsterdam and Paris, followed by chunks of trading in euro-denominated swaps.

The EU is targeting the clearing of euro swaps, which London dominates, although EU’s Ali said splitting markets would not benefit Europe.

“Fragmentation of European financial services will serve to only benefit the U.S. and Asia,” he said. Some of the swaps trading that has left London has moved to New York.

EY calculated its figures from public statements by 222 of the largest banks, insurers, fintechs and asset managers since June 2016 to the end of February 2021. A quarter, or 57 firms, said Brexit has or will have a negative impact on them, up from 49 in January 2020.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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Climate extremes seen harming unborn babies in Brazil’s Amazon

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Climate extremes seen harming unborn babies in Brazil's Amazon 3

By Jack Graham

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A new study that links extreme rains with lower birth weights in Brazil’s Amazon region underscores the long-term health impacts of weather extremes connected to climate change, researchers said on Monday.

Exceptionally heavy rain and floods during pregnancy were linked to lower birth weight and premature births in Brazil’s northern Amazonas state, according to the researchers from Britain’s Lancaster University and the FIOCRUZ health research institute.

They compared nearly 300,000 births over 11 years with local weather data and found babies born after extreme rainfall were more likely to have low birth weights, which is linked to worse educational, health and even income attainment as adults.

Even non-extreme intense rainfall was linked to a 40% higher chance of a child being low birth-weight, according to the study, published on Monday in the Nature Sustainability journal.

Co-author Luke Parry said heavy rains and flooding could cause increases in infectious diseases like malaria, shortages of food and mental health issues in pregnant women, leading to lower birth weights.

“It’s an example of climate injustice, because these mothers and these communities are very, very far from deforestation frontiers in the Amazon,” Parry told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“They’ve contributed very little to climate change but are being hit first and worst,” he added, saying he had been “surprised by just how severe these impacts are”.

Severe flooding on the Amazon river is five times more common than just a few decades ago, according to a 2018 paper in the journal Science Advances.

Last week, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro visited the neighbouring state of Acre in the Brazilian rainforest, which is under a state of emergency after heavy flooding.

Parry said local people had adapted their lifestyles to deal with climate change, but that “the extent of the extreme river levels and rainfalls has basically exceeded people’s adaptive capacities”.

The negative impacts were even worse for adolescent and indigenous mothers.

The study said the “long-term political neglect of provincial Amazonia” and “uneven development in Brazil” needed to be addressed to tackle the “double burden” of climate change and health inequalities.

It said policy interventions should include antenatal health coverage and transport for rural teenagers to finish high school, as well as improved early warning systems for floods.

(Reporting by Jack Graham; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

 

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