Many charities in the UK operate as businesses, generating revenue from their activities. Like with any other business, loan finance can enable them to expand their activities and generate more income, which means delivering more benefit for the people they work with.
A Retail Charity Bond provides charitable organisations with a simple and affordable way to raise unsecured loan finance through the retail bond market for amounts starting from £10 million. For established charities with strong credit worth it offers a lighter alternative to bank debt, as well as the opportunity to engage with a wide audience of individual investors.
Retail Charity Bonds are equally designed to offer a transparent and liquid market for investors looking for impact investment opportunities that offer a financial return and create tangible social benefit. Admission to trading on London Stock Exchange’s Order book for Retail Bonds enables investors to buy and sell these social investment products in the secondary market.
The bonds are issued by a special purpose vehicle, Retail Charity Bonds plc. The issuing vehicle is governed by a board of directors with significant experience in the financial and charitable sectors, acting on a pro-bono basis. This independent board will review applications by appropriate, established charitable organisations seeking loan finance.
Retail Charity Bonds plc’s only business is issuing bonds, lending the proceeds to UK charities and related operations, and it has no employees. Its administration is undertaken by Allia Impact Finance under a services agreement.
Each bond will be offered for sale through a number of authorised distributors. The bonds will be listed on London Stock Exchange and are expected to be admitted to trading on the Order book for Retail Bonds, where they may be bought and sold on the secondary market. The proceeds from each bond issue, minus costs, will be advanced to a specific UK charity under a loan agreement with Retail Charity Bonds plc. The charity will pay interest on the loan on specified interest dates and will repay the loan at the end of the term. These interest and principal payments from the charity to Retail Charity Bonds plc fund the interest and principal payments to bondholders.
Each Retail Charity Bond has limited recourse to the relevant charity loan, meaning that investors in the bond are relying solely on the relevant charity for payments of interest and principal. They have no right of recourse against, and are not taking risk on any other charities that have received loans through the platform.
The issuer, Retail Charity Bonds plc, is a special purpose vehicle created to issue fixed income retail bonds. It is governed by an independent and experienced board of directors from the financial and charity sectors who are acting on a pro-bono basis.
Retail Charity Bonds plc is a public company registered in England and Wales with company number 8940313. Registered office: 27-28 Eastcastle Street, London, W1W 8DH. It is an independent special purpose vehicle and not a charity.
The latest audited accounts of Retail Charity Bonds plc for the period ended 31st August 2016 are available to download here.
The Retail Charity Bond model has been developed by Allia, a charity and pioneer in social investment.
Allia supports organisations dedicated to making a positive social impact. It created one of the first ever social investment products in 1999, allowing investors to support the development of social housing and donate interest upfront to their chosen charity.
Allia Impact Finance is part of the Allia group, and manages the marketing to prospective charity borrowers and the introduction to the issuing vehicle, Retail Charity Bonds plc. It also conducts the administration of the plc and manages each charity loan. To find out more, visit impact finance.allia.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.