Sunday, October 12, 2008

Not so cool for cats

Cats Protection have put out a statement about their investments in Iceland:
"In August 2005, the charity identified that Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander, a UK bank, was a bank where it could invest with confidence as it had a high credit rating. Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander is owned by an Icelandic bank, Kaupthing. Consequently, some of Cats Protection’s cash reserves were placed with them on a 90 day arrangement. Our deposits amounted to £11.2 million.

The credit ratings of the various banks the charity uses are checked periodically and quite recently, Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander’s rating remained sound.

“In the light of the demise of some major banking institutions, Cats Protection decided that it should diversify even further and on 17 September 2008, the charity gave 90 days notice to KSF of its intention to withdraw these deposits.

“On Wednesday afternoon, 8 October, Cats Protection received news that the bank had been put into administration. Some of the deposits held within the Kaupthing bank group have been rescued under a deal set up by the UK treasury. However, at present the future of other deposits, CP’s included, is uncertain. Many local authorities and councils find themselves in similar positions and we and they are exerting pressure on the Treasury to act."
Very worrying.

Some people seem to be taking the view that CP shouldn't have had reserves of that size in any case, and it's worth pointing out that (like us) they handle thousands of cats every year — and also help low income cat owners with vouchers for pet neutering and grants towards emergency vet bills. It's a lot of money, but spread over that number of cases, it doesn't represent a huge amount per individual cat. Setting up a new shelter doesn't leave much change out of several million pounds when you consider that a suitable site could cost at least half a million and would require at least as much again to kit it out with suitable buildings. Even paying just the minimum wage staff costs would be at least £80,000 p.a. to have a rotation to cover holidays and time off and still have someone on the premises 24/7.

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