The committee considered the head of finance’s report that presented the proposed treasury management strategy for 2013/14 to 2015/16. The report set out the expected treasury operations for the period, comprising four elements required by legislation:
· The prudential indicators required by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) Prudential Code for Capital Finance in Local Authorities
The officers recommended changes to the treasury management strategy for 2013/14 to:
(a) Raise the limit that could be invested in UK government-backed institutions to £15 million
(b) Extend the investment period with the council’s own ‘house bank’, the Co-operative Bank plc, to three months duration and to set a limit of £5 million
(c) Provide the facility to invest £3 million in a pooled property fund
(d) Add a limit of £5 million for the investment in corporate bonds with a minimum AA- credit rating or equivalent
(e) Add a limit of £3 million for investment in equities via a pooled fund
(f) Provide a limit of £15 million for investment in managed bond funds
(g) Change the counterparty limits and maturity periods for investments with building societies as set out in table 5 of appendix A to the report
Some councillors expressed concerns at the proposal to invest in (c) to (f) above, worrying that the council would be taking unnecessary risks with taxpayers’ money. Other councillors believed that the proposed strategy would allow the officers flexibility to place surplus funds, spread risk across a broader range of investment options, and achieve greater returns. The committee noted that the corporate bonds the council would invest in would be housing association bonds or AAA bonds. The strategy gave priority to security and liquidity.
The committee supported the recommendations, with the exception of Councillor Crawford who asked for his abstention to be recorded, and his concerns relayed to Cabinet.
RESOLVED: To recommend Cabinet to recommend Council to
(a) approve the treasury management strategy 2013/14;
(b) approve the prudential indicators and limits for 2013/14 to 2015/16 as set out in table 2, appendix A to the head of finance’s report;
(c) approve annual investment strategy 2013/14 set out in appendix A to the report and the lending criteria detailed in table 5.