The Church of England has appointed a New York-based specialist to screen its portfolio of assets in the wake of its embarrassing Wonga debacle last year.
MSCI ESG Research will review both current and potential investments to prevent the CoE backing companies involved in the tobacco, adult entertainment, gambling, defence sectors as well as those offering high interest rate loans.
It comes less than a month after the Church, whose pension fund controls billions of assets, was forced to admit it still held a stake in payday lender Wonga despite the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby claiming he wanted to "compete out of existence" by supporting credit unions. Earlier that year, the Church’s pension fund was found to have invested in one of Wonga’s backers, Accel Partners.
Edward Mason, secretary to the Church of England Ethical Investment Advisory Group, said “We are delighted by the commitment that MSCI has shown to meeting our changing needs as we continue to seek to reflect the Church’s values in an ever more complex investment environment.”