The Prespa Ohrid Nature Fund (PONT) and Caucasus Nature Fund (CNF) have embarked upon a combined services partnership which represents a bold new step in the world of conservation trust funds (CTF). The two organizations have combined their investment services and back office operations in an innovative partnership that is designed to keep administrative costs low and provide more sustainable and professional operational support. At the same time, the partnership ensures that program offices located in the two regions can be certain that home country compliance and basic trust fund support services are assured.
While CTF cooperation had been discussed within the trust fund community for a number of years, and some trust funds have even attempted to combine investment services and expertise, it is believed that the CNF-PONT shared services initiative is a first in CTF history.
Starting with the establishment of a joint investment committee in early 2016, CNF and PONT formalised their partnership by establishing an independent organization that provides back office operational support, including financial management, donor reporting, communications and administrative services. The Nature Trust Alliance (CNF/PONT) GbR (NTA) was established in July 2016 and began operations in September 2016 from a new office in Frankfurt.
It is expected that this innovative partnership to share services will reduce both CNF and PONT’s operating and investment management costs, while allowing both organization access to higher quality staff, services, and systems. The result should be increased operational efficiency, an optimized investment management fee structure that improves returns on invested funds, and more funds available for direct conservation. In addition to the operating and investment benefits, this structure will allow for the CTF Executive Directors to come together, strategise, share best practices while improving the impact of conservation activities in both regions.