LAWFUEL – Legal News Service – CMS Cameron McKenna LLP has acted for the Wellcome Trust, one of the world’s largest medical research charities, in their landmark issuance of a 30-year bond that will raise £550 million from the capital markets. In so doing, the Wellcome Trust is the first charity in the UK to issue a bond on the public markets.
The bond issue will allow the Wellcome Trust to increase funds for long-term investment and annual spending, enabling it to increase the amount of grant funding for medical research, which totalled more than £480 million in 2005. The Trust has an endowment of more than £12 billion and has been given a triple-A credit rating, the highest available, by both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. This is an unprecedented rating for a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in the United Kingdom.
The CMS Cameron McKenna team worked closely with John Stewart, Head of Legal and Company Secretary at the Wellcome Trust, and was led by Client Relationship Partner, Niall McAlister, and Capital Markets Partner Jason Harding.
“We have advised the Trust since it was established in the 1930s, and have worked with it on a number of innovative transactions. I’m delighted that we were able to assist the Wellcome Trust with another ground-breaking transaction,” commented Niall McAlister.
Jason Harding said, “This innovation is likely to encourage other major trusts and endowments to look at bond issues as a way of raising funds, and from a legal perspective has raised many unique and challenging issues that we have had to address.”
The Wellcome Trust was established in 1936 on the death of Sir Henry Wellcome, and has as its mission ‘to foster and promote research with the aim of improving human and animal health’. The Trust is the second largest biomedical research funding foundation in the world and is the largest charitable trust in the UK. It funds a diverse range of high-profile research. For example, Wellcome Trust-funded researchers sequenced one-third of the human genome. The Trust funds 3000 principal investigators and their research teams in around 50 countries worldwide.