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Church of England investment fund ranks as top global performer due to 'stellar' returns

The £7.9bn fund is managed by the Church Commissioners for England body and aims to 'support the work and mission of the Church of England today

Zlata Rodionova
Monday 22 May 2017 09:34 BST
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The Church Commissioners secretary said in all the fund had contributed £230.7m to the Church of England in 2016
The Church Commissioners secretary said in all the fund had contributed £230.7m to the Church of England in 2016 (Getty)

The Church of England’s multi-billion investment fund scored a “stellar” return of more than 17 per cent last year, more than double the return achieved in 2015.

The £7.9bn fund is managed by the Church Commissioners for England body and aims to “support the work and mission of the Church of England today and for future generations, ensuring a Christian presence in every community”.

The body said the fund made a return of 17.1 per cent on its investment in 2016, compared to the 8.2 per cent recorded in 2015.

According to the Financial Times, the church’s fund’s outperformance now puts it ahead of the top-rated Yale University endowment fund in terms of returns.

First church estates commissioner Sir Andreas Whittam Smith said: "Contributing to this stellar outturn was a strong showing by global equities (+32.9 per cent), partly reflecting the depreciation of sterling."

"The combined property portfolios delivered a creditable 11.6 per cent in a relatively weak market environment. Consistency has truly been a guiding principle for the fund."

The Secretary to the Church Commissioners Andrew Brown said the results mean the body had contributed £230.7m to the mission of the Church of England.

He said: “While this is only around 15 per cent of the Church’s overall income – most funding comes from the extraordinary generosity of parishioners – we are delighted to be able to play our part.”

The Church's Ethical Investment Advisory Group "recommends against investment" in companies which make more than 3 per cent of their income from the production or distribution of pornography, those involved in conventional weapons or in any company, a major part of whose business activity or focus is tobacco, gambling, non-military firearms, high interest rate lending or human embryonic cloning.

However, the Church of England in 2013 admitted it had indirectly taken a £75,000 stake in controversial pay day lender, Wonga.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at the time said he was “embarrassed” and “irritated” by the connection.

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