Launch of charity funds breaks new ground

Affirmative Funds give trustees access to sustainable growthstrategy

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

Investments by the new Affirmative Funds for Charities are to bemade on the basis of financial considerations alone in order tosecure and maximise financial return. Epworth is of the view thatthis will be achieved by investing in companies which not only havefinancial and management strengths but also sustainable growthstrategies. Such companies are likely to be run in a manner whichis in the interests of all stakeholders. In addition toshareholders, these will include employees, suppliers, customersand the local and wider community. The Affirmative Funds will bemanaged according to positive criteria through broadly spreadportfolios from which no sector of the market will be automaticallyincluded or excluded.

The Fund Manager, Epworth Investment Management, wasestablished by the Methodist Church to allow other organisationsaccess to the specialist financial services provided by its CentralFinance Board (CFB).

Bill Seddon, Chief Executive of Epworth Investment Managementand Investment Manager of the CFB said: "For over forty years, theteam at the CFB has provided above average returns for Methodism asit has worked to integrate traditional fund management skills withthe needs of charities and pension funds. The result has been along term record of UK equity and fixed interest returns greaterthan 75% of comparable funds (CAPS Pension Fund Survey). We hopethat the Affirmative Funds will be similarly successful forinvestors as we seek to maximise financial returns on theirbehalf.

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

For further information, contact Epworth InvestmentManagement at the Central Finance Board. Tel: 020 72515205