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Sector income from investments sees largest annual growth in a decade

Sector income from investments sees largest annual growth in a decade

The sector’s income from investments grew by £300 million in the last financial year to £3.2 billion, representing the largest annual growth for a decade, according to Charity Financials.

Its latest Charity Investment Spotlight report shows that this growth also represents the highest year-on-year growth over the period.

The report examines the investment performance of the UK’s top 5,000 charities, and investigates the size and composition of the charity investment market, to show how charities’ assets are performing, comparing the top 25 charities with high value assets, and detailing the most popular investment managers to the sector.

Key findings for 2016-17 financial year include:

  • Investment assets have grown by 84% since 2007-08
  • 72% of charities saw an increase in their investment assets in 2016-17, compared to 52% of organisations in 2015-16
  • Investment assets increased by £8.3 billion in the last financial year, up by 8% on last year’s total assets
  • Return on investment assets (excluding investment property) for the top 5,000 charities stands at 2.96%, up from the 2.91% recorded in 2015-16
  • 3,262 of the top 5,000 charities have fixed asset investments; 196 organisations have investment assets over £60 million and these represent three quarters of the total

The report also shows which charities saw the greatest percentage increase in value of their investments. The Wellcome Trust takes first place with £23.8 billion in current investments. It saw its assets increase by £2.5 billion in one year, representing an 11.8% annual growth.

Children’s Investment Fund Foundation follows with current investments valued at £3.86 billion, growing by over £1 billion in the last financial year. The Morgan Foundation also experienced huge growth in the value of its investments, growing by 1,554% to £217 million, while Medical Research Council Technology saw its investments increase by 244% to £157 million.

The number of investment firms managing charity assets is becoming more concentrated according to the figures, with 251 firms now managing investments for the top 5,000 charities, down by 27 on last year’s total.  Cazenove Charities has the most clients with 287, up 26 from the 261 reported last year, followed by Rathbone Investment Management with 238, increasing by 22 from the 216 clients reported last year. CCLA is in third position with 211, followed by Investec Wealth & Investment with 205 and Sarasin & Partners with 192 clients.

The report can be downloaded from the Charity Financials site.

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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