C of E Investments on the Up

The Church of England (CofE) has said its biggest investment fund has grown by £500 million over the past year after a strong performance.

Investments grew 15.2% in 2010 with the value of the fund rising from £4.8 billion to £5.3 billion, said the Church Commissioners.

The closed fund is used to pay clergy pensions for those in service before 1998 and to support cathedrals, bishops, mission activity and parishes in the most needy areas of the country.

First Church Estates Commissioner Andreas Whittam Smith said he was most pleased with the long-term record of the fund, showing it had now outperformed comparable groups over the past 15 years.

"These results are good news for the Church and its vital role in the life of the nation," he said. "Our mission is to support the church's ministry, particularly in areas of need and opportunity - we meet that by ensuring our investments achieve sustainable long-term growth."

Key factors driving the strong performance last year were a higher weighting in shares, low weighting in UK government bonds and a bias to higher performing smaller companies within UK shareholdings, said the Church Commissioners. The fund's property holdings, which include the Hyde Park Estate in London, performed particularly well, with a 15.4% return.