Trust fund management is the process of overseeing and administering some type of trust fund. This level of supervision can be extremely detailed, or involve the execution of a few duties, based on the way that the trust fund is structured. In all situations, the trust fund manager is expected to comply with the provisions of the trust and base all decisions regarding the management of assets and the disbursement of funds from the trust in accordance with those provisions.
While the exact scope of responsibility relating to a specific trust fund management situation will vary, there are a few core processes that are likely to be found with the management of any type of trust. One of these core duties or processes is the evaluation of the assets that are connected with the fund. Depending on how the fund is structured, the manager may have authority to buy and sell assets as a means of maximizing the flow of return to the fund. For example, the manager of a child trust fund or a scholarship trust fund may be able to sell shares of stock when there is reason to believe the value of those shares will drop and remain depressed for a period of time. The manager then uses the proceeds from the sale of those shares to purchase another stock option that shows promise of generating a higher rate of return, increasing the value of assets connected with the trust.
The process of trust fund management also often involves overseeing and executing disbursements from the fund to beneficiaries. Those disbursements must follow any guidelines established as part of the fund configuration. This means that before disbursements are made from a scholarship trust fund, the recipient must meet all the qualifications found in the provisions of the trust. In like manner, the manager of a family trust must follow the guidelines of the trust when extending a loan or processing a grant to an individual who is considered part of the trust arrangement.
Another important component of trust fund management in any situation has to do with providing full and complete disclosure of the accounting records of the fund, when and as necessary. Beneficiaries of the fund may obtain information about the current financial status of the fund by contacting the manager. In some cases, the manager must prepare and submit reports to beneficiaries at specific intervals. The fund manager must also be well-versed in any laws and regulations that govern the function of trust funds within the jurisdiction, reporting fund activities to the appropriate tax and regulatory bodies.
For all these reasons, the selection of an individual to provide trust fund management should be considered very carefully. Ideally, the individual will have an educational background and some life experience that is useful in carrying out his or her assigned duties. Often, the management process is carried out by one to three co-managers, a system that helps to create a series of checks and balances that ensure compliance with current laws and fund provisions, as well as provide the opportunity to distribute management responsibilities in a manner that allows for greater efficiency and timely response.