All the ordinary shares in the bank are owned by the Baring Foundation, a charity set up by the Baring family in the late 1960s. It dispensed £8.7m in 1993 to other charities, making it the fourth largest general purpose foundation in Britain, according to the Guide to the Major Trusts. This figure was expected to have increased considerably in 1994 following record profits.
The great bulk of the foundation's resources comes from dividends from the bank - out of total income of £8.7m in 1991, £7m came from Barings, with the rest generated by its own investments. Many leading members of the Baring family are active trustees.
As of last autumn the trustees were: Lord Ashburton (formerly Sir John Baring); Nicolas Baring, Tessa Baring, RD Broadley; Lord Howick; Lady Lloyd; Lord Adrian; MJ Rivett-Carnac; Sir Ashley Ponsonby; Sir Crispin Tickell; and Martin Findlay.
The foundation has a high profile in the charity world and is considered a progressive institution, according to the Guide to Major Trusts. It was one of the first of its kind to publish full annual reports on its policies, in sharp contrast to the secretive operations of most City charities. It has taken a lead in trying to direct more of its grants towards the provinces and away from the more-favoured areas of London and the South- east. It has also taken on expert staff.