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Church of England hires first-ever investment director

Church of England hires first-ever investment director
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Church of England hires first-ever investment director

Finance | Vibeka Mair | 4 Aug 2009

The Church Commissioners for England has appointed Tom Joy as its first director of investment to manage all of the Church of England’s property and other assets worth a total of £4.4bn.

Joy (pictured), who will report to the first church estates commissioner, Andreas Whittam Smith, and the secretary to the commissioners, Andrew Brown, has been hired to advise the assets committee on the strategic development of the Church’s multi-asset investment portfolio in light of the increasing complexity of the financial markets.

He joins from RMB Asset, where he was chief investment officer for six years, and will take up his post in October.

COE faces further criticism on investments

Meanwhile, the Church of England has come under further fire for its £2.5m investment in mining company Vedanta, which is planning a project on an Indian mountain considered sacred by the local people.

Last week, a coalition of international development charities attacked the Church of England for its investment and urged it to pressurise Vedanta to stop its plans.

It faces more criticism this week with the Guardian newspaper reporting that Vedanta will supply bauxite it mines to a subsidiary involved in the production of metal for weapons.

Meredith Alexander, head of trade and corporates at ActionAid, said: “This is just another reason why investors should take a hard look at their holdings in Vedanta. The Church of England, for example, state they will not invest in defence companies. Vedanta’s involvement in missile production surely makes their investment even more controversial.”

A CofE spokesperson said that the CofE's current ethical policy on investments does exclude companies that made armaments, but this did not render Vedanta uninvestable.

“Vedanta does not make armaments. There is a distinction on where it is in the supply chain. But our shareholding is still under consideration and we are meeting senior management of Vedanta to discuss our concerns.”

The Church of England has asked The Guardian for evidence it has gathered on Vedanta.

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