Warning over low returns

Charity chief executives and finance directors have been urged to be realistic about the returns they can expect from their investments, given recent market volatility.

Last Thursday's Investment Conference for Charities let the sector quiz investment managers about the implications of the turmoil in financial markets for their funds, in the wake of the global credit crunch.

Chris Hills, chief investment officer at investment firm Rensberg Sheppards, told delegates that they might have to accept more modest returns than they had been anticipating.

"It's about expectations: if all you need is a 4 per cent return, you'll probably achieve that, but it's unwise to rely on getting a 10 per cent return every year," Hills told Third Sector. "The recent market volatility has brought the issue of the risk of investing to the forefront. People need to ask: am I going to get the returns I am expecting? The answer is no, you won't get them in a predictable manner, but you need to think long term."

His message came after Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, told MPs that although "the current turmoil has disturbed the unusual serenity of recent years, it should not threaten our long-term economic stability".

David Membrey, deputy chief executive of the Charity Finance Directors' Group, said: "Given the current climate, our members who've invested all their reserves are having to think about diversifying their investment portfolios."

The conference was organised by the CFDG in association with investment management firms Rensberg Sheppards, Barings and Sarasin Chiswell.

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