Our investment philosophy

Understanding your charity’s investment objectives, attitude to risk and ethical constraints is central to building the right portfolio for your needs. 

You need to be sure that you choose an adviser who will work closely with you to set your investment strategy and be proactive in ensuring that your portfolio continues to match your charity’s requirements over time.

We work alongside trustees to understand fully your charity’s investment objectives, risk tolerance, time horizon, ethical preferences and requirements for distribution of income and capital. Only then do we agree a suitable mandate and build the appropriate portfolio – without ‘shoe horning’ you into predetermined risk boxes. 

Please remember that the value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and you may not receive back the original amount invested.

Meeting your needs


We provide our investment managers with the expert guidance and tools needed to make informed decisions, while giving them full discretion to manage your portfolio in your best interests within agreed parameters. Your investment manager will meet with you as often as you need to keep you up to date and understand any changing requirements.


Our portfolios are generally built around a core, balanced distribution of primarily readily realisable (liquid) assets to allow your manager to react swiftly to market conditions. We combine ‘top-down’ asset allocation with ‘bottom-up’ stock selection to add maximum value. Robust internal controls and ongoing peer review ensure that your investment strategy is followed.  


Our specialist advisers blend short-term tactical and long-term strategic requirements to reflect changing economic and business cycles. They’ll monitor the relative performance of different asset classes, as well as analysing specific country, industry and company risks to build the right portfolio.


We carefully select companies that won’t conflict with your charity’s ethical principles. Using Vigeo Eiris (a provider that screens companies based on environmental, social and governance research), we verify our chosen companies and ensure they reflect your charity’s aims and objectives. 

Our credentials


One of the largest non-quoted charity and private client wealth managers in the UK, looking after more than 411 charities, as at 29 March 2018.

Independently assessed 12-year track record that demonstrates our ability to add value through rising and falling markets. 

Around £20.4 billion of funds under management and advice as at 31 December 2017, of which around £2 billion is for charities. 

Over 170 investment managers with low staff turnover, providing you with consistency and continuity of service. 


“The Mission to Seafarers in Northern Ireland has been using Smith & Williamson’s Northern Ireland office, Cunningham Coates, to manage our charitable investment portfolio for over 20 years. Cathy and her team have delivered a strong investment performance with the Mission’s investment funds in relation to the market. Cathy responds promptly and clearly to our queries in a manner which is easy for our Committee to understand, thereby providing confidence to our Committee that our charity’s investments are being well managed in accordance with our investment strategy.”
Mission to Seafarers, Northern Ireland





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