Church of England Seeks to Avoid Undermining Christian Values in Pension Fund Investments
08 August 2012 (PLANSPONSOREurope.com) - The Church of England (C of E) says it is mindful to avoid undermining the Christian values of the church through the investments of its pension funds.
Yesterday the C of E announced its pension funds had sold shares in News Corporation on the advice of the Church's Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG).
Commissioners and the C of E Pensions Board announced the sale of the shares worth £1.9m. Consequently, none of the three national investing bodies of the C of E hold shares in the company.
A C of E spokesman told PLANSPONSOR Europe: “The combined assets of the Church of England’s three national investing bodies charged with the management of the Church's pension and endowment funds - the Church Commissioners, the Church of England Pensions Board and the CBF Church of England Funds - exceed £8bn. This wealth creates a challenge, and an opportunity, to model a style of institutional investment that reflects Christian values. We are also mindful of the need to avoid undermining the credibility, effectiveness and unity of the Church’s witness by profiting from, or providing capital to, activities that are materially inconsistent with Christian values.
“The national investing bodies are active stewards of their assets and their ethical investment policies are the basis for a distinctly Christian approach to investment embracing both negative screening and positive alignment with the Church's teaching and values. Increasingly, the ethical investment practised by the Church of England focuses not only on what shouldn't be owned, but also on the responsibilities and possibilities arising from what is owned. Share ownership gives the Church a huge opportunity to talk to companies on issues of business ethics, so we seek to meet the challenge through avoidance where necessary, and engagement where possible.
“In addition, institutional investment now embraces new asset classes such as currencies and commodities and new practices such as short selling. This gives the Church an opportunity to engage with the investment community on issues of investment ethics. We intend this engagement to help shape thinking on ethics by practitioners in the financial sector. We believe we can have an impact on business, the investment community, and wider society and opinion.”
“As the national Church, that's where we want to, and must, position ourselves.”