Sector 'was flying before the crunch'

Charities' total investment assets shot up by 12 per cent in six months shortly before the recent market turmoil, according to data published by asset management firm JM Finn.

The summer 2008 edition of the company's Charity Performance Guide showed an increase in investment assets to £70.6bn from £63bn in the previous edition six months earlier. The amount given in grants also rose sharply in the same period, from £2bn to £2.6bn.

"These results largely reflect financial information from the period immediately before the credit crunch," said Brian Gielty, the report's publisher. "They show a third sector that was absolutely flying.

"We will have to look at future results to see what effect the different economic conditions have had. That will be much clearer in a year or 18 months."

The performance guide will be officially launched on 1 October in London.

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