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Church of England Defends HF Investment

Mar 05, 2014
Jing Chen

The head of the Church of England’s endowment is defending plans to increase its exposure to hedge funds.

First Church Estates commissioner Andreas Whittam Smith told Financial Times that “everything [the Church] invest in is run through [its] ethical investment advisory group and hedge funds” and “it is ridiculous to think that all hedge funds are wicked.”

The article stated that the Church’s ethical committee supports short-selling as long as it is done responsibly, which includes not investing church funds not to invest in managers who make large directional bets on a stock’s decline.

eVestment reported Tuesday that Church commissioners will meet next month to decide where to allocate the fund’s assets. Although specific strategies have not been finalized, it has been set that the endowment will increase its alternative investments, which includes investments such as hedge funds, private equity and real estate.

The Church, which has nearly tripled its hedge fund allocation to 10% since 2009, is the 15th largest single investor in hedge funds in the U.K., and one of the top 50 in private equity.


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