Bank Workers Charity to consult on how to increase social investment

Organisation considers options after the Charity Commission rules that charities can invest for social as well as financial returns

Fred Payne, chief executive of the BWC
Fred Payne, chief executive of the BWC

The Bank Workers Charity will hold a consultation and organise round-table events with other benevolent funds to consider ways of increasing social investment.

The BWC, which helps people who work in banking, has £45m of investments. It is interested in investing more in charities and social enterprises with objects that benefit the BWC’s beneficiaries.

Fred Payne, chief executive of the BWC, cited charities working with disabled people, or people with long-term health problems, as the kind of organisations in which he would be interested in investing.

Payne said he was interested in assessing the scope for such investments, and whether other grant-making charities would be interested in investing on a similar basis.

The Charity Commission last week released new guidance saying charities could invest for social as well as financial returns.

Payne said he hoped the guidance would encourage charities to get involved.

"We’ve been interested in supporting this for the past three or four years," he said. "But it would be much more effective if many charities could work together."

Payne said one example might be a payment-by-results business that helped absent staff return to work.

"If charities could provide a social impact bond-type model for big employers, where the charities support people to get them back to their jobs, that would be something we could invest in," he said.

"It would be able to pay a decent return and it would help meet our objects, because the people it would support are our beneficiaries."

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