Social investment moves up agenda for foundations

Charity Commission's guidelines expected to endorse ethical investment

Foundations are becoming more receptive to mission-connected investment because they expect the Charity Commission to support it in new guidelines on investment to be released in January, according to a leading ethical investment expert.

Helen Wildsmith, head of ethical and responsible investment at not-for-profit investment firm CCLA, said foundations believed the commission would give its approval to ethical investment. Some charities have previously expressed doubts about whether such investments are compatible with their duty to maximise returns.

"Even people who have not seen the redraft are getting more interested in social investment," said Wildsmith. "They are changing their views."

But David Emerson, chief executive of the Association of Charitable Foundations, said he did not yet have a sense that foundations were changing their attitudes.

He said changes to CC14, which sets out the principles for charity investment, were likely to be discussed at a meeting between the commission and foundations in November.

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