100820 – Financial Institutions: Investment Entities: Trust: Trusts Managed by a Financial Institution

A trust is typically regarded as being managed by a Financial Institution where either one or more of the trustees is a financial institution or the trustees have appointed a financial institution, such as a discretionary fund manager, to manage the trust’s assets or to manage the trust. 

Does a Financial Institution Manage the Trust? 

A financial institution will manage the trust where it has been appointed by the trustees to carry out the day to day functions of the trust on behalf of the trustees. This goes beyond managing the investment of the trust’s assets and includes other management functions that the trustees have to perform but which are contracted to the financial institution. 

Does a Financial Institution Manage the Financial Assets of the Trust? 

A financial institution manages the Financial Assets of the trust where it has the discretion to manage the investments or investment strategy for the assets. This will usually be where the trust has appointed a discretionary fund manager to manage their portfolio or a part thereof. The appointment of a discretionary fund manager will be evidenced by an agreement between the parties that provides for discretionary management. 

Where the trustees of a trust invest in retail investments the arrangement will not amount to discretionary management where the trustees make the decision on what investments to make, even though advice may be taken on investing and third party brokers used to buy, hold or sell the investments. The Glossary of Definitions in the Financial Services Handbook defines both retail investment and retail investment activity. 

The Society for Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) in conjunction with the Law Society for England and Wales and The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) have produced a series of questions and a supporting flowchart that may be useful when considering the status of a trust. Please note that use of this flowchart will in no way take the place of HMRC guidance, and it should be used as a supplementary tool only.


Any information accessed from the link above should not be reported as representing the official views of HMRC or of its employees. The opinions expressed and arguments employed are those of the authors.