The Church Commissioners, the charity investment arm of the Church of England, has today announced a return on investments of 7.1 per cent in 2017, meaning that the fund is now worth £8.3bn.
Its annual accounts show that the total return on investments in 2017 was less than half of the previous year’s rate of return of 17.1 percent.
The 2017 figure is slightly below the average return over the last 30 years, which has been 9.4 per cent per annum, and is lower than its investment return target of 9.1 per cent.
The fund’s biggest returns were from its global equities portfolio, 15.9 per cent, commercial property, 10.5 per cent, and private equity, 7.2 per cent.
Loretta Minghella, First Church Estates commissioner, said while this year’s returns were short of the organisation’s target, its long-term returns remained strong.
She said: “The macro economic environment is changing. Anticipating muted returns in the future, we will continue to develop our focus on non-traditional asset classes.
“Our perpetual endowment and long-term horizon is well suited to maximising returns from less liquid markets including venture capital.”
The Church Commissioners' charitable expenditure dropped from £230.7m to £226.2m in 2017, accounting for 15 per cent of the Church of England's overall mission and ministry costs.
Andrew Brown, secretary of the Church Commissioners, said: “We are pleased to continue to play our part in funding the long-term future of the Church as we remain forever mindful of our obligation to manage the fund in perpetuity.”
In the year to 31 December 2017, nine of the charity’s investment staff received long-term performance-related pay totalling £986,000.
The organisation’s 452 staff across its National Church Institutions reported a disparity of 41 per cent in favour of men over women, when comparing the midpoint in salary for men and the midpoint salary for women against the midpoint for all staff.
For the Church Commissioners’ 31 asset management staff, the differential in pay showed a disparity of 4 per cent in favour of men over women.
The organisation says in its report: “The National Church Institutions are committed to addressing these pay differentials and are taking a number of steps to that end. We are reviewing both our job evaluation system and our pay methodology, and we have appointed a reward manager.”