Public Sector – Sacked firm makes payment

James Capel Investment Management, whose contract with the Public Trust Office was terminated after it under-performed, has made a payment of #375,000 to the troubled government agency, writes William Hutchings.

The PTO, which is responsible for overseeing the private finances of the mentally incapacitated, came under fire from the National Audit Office earlier this month for weaknesses in its financial management.

Appearing before the public accounts committee last week, PTO chief executive Julia Lomas blamed the fact that it had not met its investment performance targets on the under-performance of Capel. JCIM’s contract had been terminated in March 1998.

When an individual is recognised as being mentally incapable, a second person must be appointed to look after day-to-day finances.

That person then has discretion in spending the individual’s income, but must submit annual accounts to the PTO. The individual’s capital assets are controlled by the PTO, which is then set investment performance targets for the #1.45bn in capital assets – relating to 22,000 mentally incapacitated people – that it currently controls.

JCIM said of the payment: ‘We considered it appropriate to make an ex-gratia payment to the PTO for it to distribute as it saw fit.’

The PTO declined to comment on the matter.

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