The value of charity investments rose by 13.4 per cent in 2010, according to figures released yesterday by market analyst the WM Company.
The figures, based on a survey of most of the major charity investment managers, rely on data to the end of November and estimates for December based on market averages.
They show that charities held more than 40 per cent of their assets in UK equities, which rose in value by about 14.5 per cent over the year. About a quarter of their assets were in overseas equities, which rose by 16.8 per cent.
Property also performed well over the course of the year, increasing in value by 14.3 per cent.
But equities were up by only 4.5 per cent over the past three years, and property was down by 3.3 per cent. The total increase in the value of charity investments over the past three years was 2.8 per cent.
John Kelly, head of client investment at the investment house CCLA, said the year had been better for charity investors than those preceding it.
"There’s been a migration from cash and bonds into longer-term assets such as equity," he said. "Income has remained difficult to come by. There’s been a lot of dividend growth, with the exception of BP, which provided 13 per cent of all dividends by itself.
"We expect more of the same this year. Companies are still cheap and the economy is growing, but you can’t expect interest rates to rise. We expect to finish the year with a base rate still below 1 per cent."