The Harrow Halford Hewitt Fund has been established to separate the Society's funds from the day to day running of the Society.
Over the years the Society has been fortunate enough to receive bequests from members, either in their lifetime or following their death. During the tenure of Charles Donald as Hon Sec, there was a very generous arrangement whereby Charles invested the Society's accrued surplus of GBP 20,000, underwrote it against capital loss and paid an annual yield of 10%. Following his death, this arrangement had to cease but we were fortunate enough to liquidate the majority of his investments at a profit. However, we then had a reasonable surplus but no income, due to the fall in interest rates after the 2008 crash.
In 2012 the Committee voted to place the surplus funds in stocks and shares to seek a better yield, and an Investment Committee was formed. This has proved to be very successful, as there has been both dividend income and capital gains. Together with additional donations, the funds have grown considerably but are not sufficient to cover the annual cost of the Halford Hewitt tournament which, arguably, the Society exists to support.
The next stage in addressing the problem, has been at the initiative of Geoffrey Goddard, who has asked a small group of members for donations on an annual basis - specifically for the Halford Hewitt. This has plugged the gap for now, but Geoffrey would like to move to a position whereby there are sufficient funds that the yield alone pays for the annual cost of the tournament.
He recognises that Old Harrovians will be reluctant to donate if the funds are not segregated - and so a separate bank account has been set up, with separate signatories. For efficiency, the surplus funds in the Society will be pooled with any donations to the HHH Fund and invested under the control of the Investment Committee.
Geoffrey has very generously offered to underwrite the portion of the funds currently held in cash and direct the choice of stocks and shares to ensure that all surplus funds are invested with the potential for capital gains. Although this means full investment, we are relying on bequests over the next 10 years to reach a sustainable fund.
This enables the Main Committee to focus on the day to day matters of running the Society and not to be distracted by the investments. The Investment Committee will keep an overall watching brief and approve any changes to the holdings, other than the portion underwritten by Geoffrey.
The Halford Hewitt accounting will be handled within the Society accounts and the HHH Fund will pay any shortfall to the Society. This has effectively been happening for the last couple of years, leading up to the formation of the HHH Fund anyway.
The costs are growing - not so much due to inflation, but more due to our desire to win the tournament once again. The standards have risen, with many schools incorporating golf academies - and Harrow needs to up its game. To do that requires the recruitment of our best players, the majority of whom are recent school leavers who cannot afford the cost of participation and need subsidising.
The entry fee is approximately GBP 1,000 for the team but the accommodation costs during the tournament are considerably more than that. In addition, there are several practice rounds to help with team selection and team building, and these will involve considerable travel costs if the players are at university. All this has to be paid for - so the total budget is more like GBP 4,500 at present.
Apart from the yield on our surplus funds, our only other source of income is from membership subscriptions. These amount to less than GBP 4,500 per annum at present and are insufficient to pay for the Halford Hewitt as well as the Grafton Morrish, Bernard Darwin and other costs of running the Society. Whereas we could field a team of those willing and able to pay for their own expenses and avoid the current high costs involved, we would be most unlikely to ever challenge the latter stages of the tournament, were we to adopt that policy.
The yield from the HHH Fund is essential to help plug the gap, but is currently insufficient - so the annual donations from a few supporting members must continue. Over time, as funds build and yields increase, we may be in a position to fund the Halford Hewitt without needing to ask for extra contributions from a few, or perhaps a general increase in subscriptions from all members.