Church of England made £900m investment gains last year

The church's investment portfolio is now worth £7.9bn, its latest accounts show

The Church Commissioners for England more than doubled its investment return in 2016 and now has an investment portfolio worth £7.9bn, the charity’s annual report and accounts show. 

The charity, which supports the work of the Church of England, had a total return on investments of 17.1 per cent for the year to 31 December 2016, compared with 8.2 per cent the previous year.

The charity’s investable assets increased by £900m to £7.9bn.

Disbursements by the Church Commissioners for England increased by 5.6 per cent, meaning £230.7m could be invested in the Church of England’s ministry costs and mission, the report says.

Global equities did particularly well, which the charity said was due to the fall in the value of the pound.

Sir Andreas Whittam Smith, first church estates commissioner, said the "stellar" results showed the charity was "well ahead of our return target in 2016".

He said: "Consistency has truly been a guiding principle for the fund. Our historical performance over a 30-year period shows annual growth of 9.6 per cent per annum, despite periods of turbulence in the financial markets and our own portfolio, an average of 6 per cent per annum ahead of inflation." 

Andrew Brown, secretary and chief executive of the Church Commissioners, said: "In 2016 we contributed £230.7m to the mission of the Church of England.

"While this is only about 15 per cent of the church’s overall income – most funding comes from the extraordinary generosity of parishioners – we are delighted to be able to play our part. 

"Whether funding city centre churches, community projects in low-income areas or research programmes to examine how the church can grow, these returns make a tangible difference to the lives of thousands across the country."

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