Moneylife Foundation: Governing Principles

Debashis Basu and Sucheta Dalal, two well-known journalists, who also run Moneylife, a personal finance fortnightly and a daily web news service, have set up Moneylife Foundation. They felt the need to set up an independent and dedicated not-for-profit organisation to spread financial literacy and advocacy based on their experience of the widespread lack of awareness about financial products and rampant mis-selling.

So, in the early days, Moneylife Foundation was heavily dependent on funds and support from the team at Moneylife to help find its feet and make an impact. Five years later, the Foundation continues to need this support but to a much lesser extent. In a few years, it can be self-sufficient.

The Moneylife group is built on a foundation of strong ethics and transparency. These principles have been fully adopted by the Foundation as well. They are specifically enunciated as under:

Independence, Neutrality

Moneylife Foundation (MLF) will always remain fair, honest, independent and non-partisan in its awareness and advocacy initiatives.

It will not recommend or sell any financial product or service and will remain committed to enhancing public interest, especially that of consumers of financial products and services.

It will not enter into any quid-pro-quo arrangements to promote products, services or causes in return for donations, sponsorship, advertisement or any other support from individuals or corporate bodies.

MLF will remain independent of any political party or their causes and campaigns.

Transparency

MLF will always endeavour to be fully compliant with all rules and regulations governing not-for-profit organisations.

It will prepare an annual report every year, which will be placed before the Board of Trustees, and made available to all authorities, in compliance with the existing rules and regulations.

All donations received by the Foundation will be transparently recorded with appropriate receipts and documents issued.

The names of all donors will be regularly uploaded on the Foundation’s website. These will be classified as monetary donations, books, technology, software and equipment (donation amounts are not being uploaded, at the request of donors).

All major decisions and future directions will be discussed and ratified by the Board of Trustees.

The Trustees will meet four times a year or more frequently, if required. Issues that need urgent action will be discussed and communicated by email in the form of circular resolutions and formally ratified at the subsequent Trustees’ meeting, to maximise efficiency.

Conflict of Interest: 

Moneylife Foundation, its founders and Trustees will avoid all conflict of interest between their personal and business interests and the interests of the Trust, except by way of assistance and benefit that MLF receives from the sister entities and employees of Moneylife, in order to conserve costs and grow its activities.

Currently, Moneylife and its employees help the Foundation with their expertise in running the helplines, analysing data, designing mailers, maintaining the numerous websites, social media engagement and also assist at seminars. The Foundation also receives infrastructure support in the form of telephones, computers, printers, etc. All this is part of the Moneylife group’s commitment to its core values and social responsibility.

Role of Trustees:

The Trustees of Moneylife Foundation will be charged with developing, monitoring and evaluating a plan to make sure that the organisation achieves its stated purpose.

The Trustees will ensure that MLF functions transparently and ethically and also help with creating awareness about the Foundation’s activities among the target beneficiaries.

They will also help the Foundation identify and raise resources for its core activities and also help it expand the scope of its work for maximum public benefit.

From time to time, the Board of Trustees will discuss and decide about inviting new Trustees with relevant expertise to the board.

Trustees of Moneylife Foundation will be chosen with due regard to their knowledge, skill, contacts and expertise on MLF’s key areas of operation.

The Trustees will help in the process of institution building and long-term sustainability of the work of the Foundation with appropriate succession planning and recruitment.

The Trustees will work, at all times, in protecting and promoting the reputation of the organisation.