Deseret Trust Company (DTC) was created in 1972 to assume the asset management and fiduciary accountability functions with respect to certain gifts. These functions had previously been performed by the Development Office at Brigham Young University (BYU). The number of gifts had grown substantially, and the beneficiaries of the gifts had expanded to include not only BYU but also BYU’s parent organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Church), various Church departments and activities, and other Church-affiliated schools and charities. Thus, DTC performed these functions on a more Churchwide basis. In addition, the laws of charitable giving had changed, and state laws governing institutional trustees required an entity with a special license from the Department of Financial Institutions. Thus, DTC also provided a more formal platform for compliance with such legal requirements. The gift solicitation functions of the predecessor, Development Office, were not assigned to DTC but were assumed on a more Churchwide basis by LDS Philanthropies (formerly known as LDS Foundation), which, as a department of the Church, coordinates with DTC as explained hereafter.
DTC was originally created as a taxable Utah business corporation whose stock was wholly owned by Corporation of the President of the Church (COP). In 1990 the company was converted to a Utah nonprofit corporation, its stock was cancelled, and it became a tax-exempt charitable organization under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) §501(c)(3). It is tax-exempt for both federal and state purposes. It is governed by a board of trustees who are appointed for indefinite terms by the First Presidency of the Church.
The company uses primarily the services of the Church's Investment Securities Department for the investment advisory function, on a donated-no-cost basis. This includes the investment advisory function for the three DTC common trust funds, where the assets of most trusts are invested. However, under appropriate circumstances, the company may also engage third party investment advisers or use commercially available mutual funds.
The company generally does not perform the gift solicitation function. However, DTC has always worked directly with LDS Philanthropies, with the Church's outside legal advisers (the law firm of Kirton McConkie), and with the Church's gift officer in the office of Treasury Services to facilitate the establishment of gift trusts, with DTC being named as trustee. For example, when a field representative ("Donor Liaison") of LDS Philanthropies prepares a gift trust proposal from a prospective donor, the proposal is reviewed for approval in one of two ways: (1) if the proposal involves liquid assets and is in a preapproved standard form, it can receive expedited approval through coordination between LDS Philanthropies and the DTC administration; (2) all other proposals are reviewed for approval by the Church's Gift Review Committee and by the DTC Board of Trustees. Each of these Church-related agencies cooperates with the others to encourage such gifts consistent with established policies.