The total value of charity investments dropped by 2.7 per cent in 2011, according to figures published yesterday by market analyst the WM Company.
The figures, based on a survey of most major charity investment managers, relate to their investment data to the end of November 2011 and estimates for December based on market averages.
They show that charities had invested more than 40 per cent of their money in UK equities, which fell in value by 3.5 per cent, and 22 per cent in overseas equities, which fell by 9.1 per cent.
Charities’ investment in UK bonds rose by 15.6 per cent, while property holdings rose by 8.1 per cent
The figures show that over the past three years the value of charities’ assets is up by 9.6 per cent.
John Kelly, head of client investment at the investment house CCLA, said that investors had begun last year relatively optimistically, but that the second half of the year had brought a more pessimistic mood.
"People began to realise that Greek debt and lack of growth were very serious problems," he said. "Now, at the start of 2012, the mood has gone from hope to concern.
"However, charities need to stand back and work out what they want."
He said that the equity, bond and property markets were all likely to offer charities opportunities in 2012.