Voluntary sector investments 'have risen by a third in past year'

Increase in value of equities brings cheer to charities but concerns about stock market volatility remain

The capital value of charity investments has risen by more than a third in the past year, according to figures produced by market analysts the WM Company.

The figures are based on data provided by charity investment managers covering the majority of their investments for the 11 months to the end of February, and on estimates based on market averages for March.

They show that the growth in capital value of charity assets was about 35 per cent for the year, and about 5.8 per cent for the most recent quarter.

Equities gave the biggest increase, with UK equities increasing in value over the period by more than 52 per cent and all equities rising by 48 per cent.

Charities holding cash received a return on it of just 0.1 per cent, well below the rate of inflation in the period.

John Kelly, head of client investments at specialist charity investment house CCLA, said there had been large rises in the value of charity assets in the period, but this was because a small selection of stocks had done well.

"Charities still hold almost half their assets in UK equities, which did well," he said. "But the increase in UK equities was based on large increases in the value of a handful of stocks, which may not prove sustainable.

"There is still a lot of concern among charities about the volatility of markets."

35% - The rise in the value of charity investments in the year to March 2010

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