Charity Finance Directors Survey 2018 published today

03 Sep 2018 News

Charity finance directors say that pension liabilities is high on their agenda, according to a survey of the largest 100 charities published today by Charity Finance magazine.

Charity Finance, published by Civil Society Media, found that the median age for the most senior finance professionals at organisations in the Charity 100 Index was 52 years and two months, up from 47 years and nine months when the survey published in 2008.

The full Top 100 Finance Directors Survey has been published online and features in the September issue of the magazine.

The survey also found, compared to 2008, finance directors at the largest charities have become more transient, with their average time in post reduced from five years and eight months to four years and seven months.

Also, compared to 10 years ago, finance directors’ charity sector experience has reduced from 10 years and four months to nine years and seven months.

Finance directors at the 10 largest charities:

  1. Jenny Dillon, Nuffield Health
  2. Nigel Armitt, Cancer Research UK
  3. Peter Vermeulen, National Trust
  4. Mike Dixon, CAF
  5. Alison Hopkinson, Oxfam
  6. Sam Sharpe, Save the Children
  7. Tim Livett, Wellcome Trust
  8. Louise Johnston, United Church Schools Trust
  9. Major Judith Hilditch, Salvation Army
  10. Martin Miles, British Heart Foundation


Many respondents to this year’s survey named pension liabilities as high on their agenda.

Rajeev Arya, chief financial officer at Age UK, said: “One of my biggest concerns is the volatility in the markets and how this affects investment performance and pensions.”

Similarly, Sandra Kelly, finance director at the Canal & River Trust, said she was concerned about a “potential pension deficit on the defined benefit scheme and lower investment returns than historically, reducing the income available to spend on the waterways”.

And Michael Corcoran, director of finance at the Woodard Corporation, said he was concerned by pension liabilities and the extent to which charities have been affected by legislation that has been brought in without proper consideration for the impact on the sector.


This is the first survey of finance directors since the EU Referendum vote in June 2016.

Some directors felt this presented them with an extra challenge to tackle in the coming years, although many admitted they still did not know what the effects would be.

Jonathan Davis, finance director at Girls’ Day School Trust, said Brexit would cause “more volatility in investment returns, alongside uncertainty in the independent education sector”.

Martin Halliwell, chief financial officer at British Red Cross, said: “In what is already a challenging environment for fundraising, this is an additional factor that we need to plan for.

“We maintain a watching brief on developments and always aim to be on the front foot as information pertaining to the financial environment becomes clearer.”


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