18 September 2001

Launch of charity funds breaks new ground

Affirmative Funds give trustees access to sustainable growth strategy

For the first time the Charity Commission has established specialist charity funds (1) with sustainable growth strategies. The new Affirmative Funds for Charities (2) will be managed by Epworth Investment Management. This is the same team responsible for the impressive long-term performance record of Methodist Church charity and pension funds.

Investments by the new Affirmative Funds for Charities are to be made on the basis of financial considerations alone in order to secure and maximise financial return. Epworth is of the view that this will be achieved by investing in companies which not only have financial and management strengths but also sustainable growth strategies. Such companies are likely to be run in a manner which is in the interests of all stakeholders. In addition to shareholders, these will include employees, suppliers, customers and the local and wider community. The Affirmative Funds will be managed according to positive criteria through broadly spread portfolios from which no sector of the market will be automatically included or excluded.

The Fund Manager, Epworth Investment Management, was established by the Methodist Church to allow other organisations access to the specialist financial services provided by its Central Finance Board (CFB).

Bill Seddon, Chief Executive of Epworth Investment Management and Investment Manager of the CFB said: "For over forty years, the team at the CFB has provided above average returns for Methodism as it has worked to integrate traditional fund management skills with the needs of charities and pension funds. The result has been a long term record of UK equity and fixed interest returns greater than 75% of comparable funds (CAPS Pension Fund Survey). We hope that the Affirmative Funds will be similarly successful for investors as we seek to maximise financial returns on their behalf.

Explanatory notes 
(1) The funds are Common Investment Funds constituted under the Charities Act 1993 by the Charity Commission, open to any charity within the meaning of the Act. 
(2) The Affirmative Equity Fund for Charities and the Affirmative Fixed Interest Fund for Charities were launched on Friday 31 August.

For further information, contact Epworth Investment Management at the Central Finance Board. Tel: 020 7251 5205

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