Charity investments reach more than £100bn for first time

A report from Charity Financials says aggregate investment values increased from £94.7bn to £100.1bn in 2016

The report
The report

The total value of charity investments exceeded £100bn for the first time, but more than half of the top 5,000 charities have seen a fall in the value of their investment assets, a new report says.

Charity Investment Spotlight, which is published by the data provider Charity Financials, says that aggregate investment values increased from £94.7bn to £100.1bn in 2016.

This means that the combined value of charities’ investments almost doubled since 2009, when they stood at £53.4bn after the 2008 financial crisis.

Investment income also reached a new high of £2.9bn, according to the report.

But 52 per cent of the top 5,000 charities saw the value of their investment assets fall during the year, the report says.

It says this was considerably different from previous years. In the previous year, 72 per cent of charities saw an increase in the value of their investment assets.

The report says the growth in total investment income and value for the top 5,000 charities was mainly due to the performance of "massive investment super charities" such as the Wellcome Trust and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Return on investments was also at its lowest point since 2007, having reached 2.9 per cent in 2016.

The report says that, by contrast, charities’ return on investment assets in 2009 stood at an average of 4.9 per cent.

Approximately three-quarters of the value of the top 5,000 charities’ investment assets were held by the top 178 charities in terms of investments.

The Wellcome Trust had the largest investment portfolio, which the report values at £22.3bn.

The report says that 278 investment firms managed investments for the top 5,000 charities, nine fewer than the previous year.

Cazenove Charities had the most clients with 261. Rathbone Investment Management, Brewin Dolphin and CCLA Investment Management had the most new clients, with 18 each.

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