Prince's Trust assets frozen by administrator

THE BARINGS CRASH THE LOSERS
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The Independent Online
BY IAN MacKINNON

Several institutions were waiting with bated breath yesterday to discover if they will lose funds in the crash.

One of the big losers may be the Prince's Trust, the youth charity set up by the Prince of Wales, which has £1m at risk.

Tom Shebbeare, trust director, said its assets, representing one-seventh of its annual spending, had been frozen by the bank's administrators.

However, Mr Shebbeare, who disclosed that Prince Charles was being kept informed of the financial crisis, said he was determined to keep the charity afloat and that the grant-giving element of its work would be the last to suffer. The trust had fortuitously removed £150,000 from the account last Thursday, but losing access to £1m would present cash-flow problems.

While Buckingham Palace would not discuss the Queen's private financial dealings with the bank, it is understood she has suffered no significant losses.

Any private funds managed by the merchant bank on behalf of the Queen were "ring-fenced", not used in trading, and therefore protected. Only money held on deposit at the time of the collapse could be frozen by the receivers. Investment cash would be vulnerable only if one investment had been sold and the money held on deposit while another deal was still to be finalised.

It is believed that up to 40 local authorities had some form of investment in Barings. A Cornish district council was waiting to learn the fate of £750,000 invested, though an official said the situation did not look very promising. "We do not know any more than anyone else at the moment," said Jennifer Cross, director of central services with Penwith council. The authority had another £1m invested with Barings until last November.Hampshire County Council said uninvested cash totalling £15m was frozen, though it said its £1m investment fund, of which one-third is managed by Barings, was not at risk. The Thalidomide Trust, with £60m administered by the bank to provide for 450 victims of the drug, was told the fund was ring- fenced and safe.

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