Church of England Pension Board Posts Best Year on Record with Returns of 21.2%

Fund doubles down on ethical investing, returns highest since record keeping started in 2003

The Church of England Pension Board announced returns of 21.2% for all pension assets, its best performance since record keeping started in 2003, according to a report published on Wednesday. Funds under management totaled 2.3 billon pounds.

The fund’s largest position was in global developed market equities, at 55%, with property second at 11%, and small cap equities third at 10%.

Its top five equity investments were Apple, Alphabet, Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, and Wells Fargo.

The fund continued to emphasize ethical investing.

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“During the year, the engagement team continued to meet company representatives on a range of issues of concern,” the report said.  “These issues included human rights, climate change, tailings dams, risks around reporting on joint ventures within extractive companies, promotion of responsible alcohol consumption and community health and safety, and environmental concerns around mining activity.”

Executive compensation was a key focus in its portfolio holdings.

“During 2016, in line with the National Investing Bodies’ executive remuneration policy, we continued to vote against the majority of remuneration reports and publicly called upon company remuneration committees to exercise better judgement when recommending reports to shareholders,” the report said. “A number of high-profile advisory votes went against board recommendations and we expect executive remuneration to remain the most prominent issue in the 2017 voting season.”

The fund also continued to develop the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), an asset-owner led initiative supported by asset managers and owners with 2 trillion pounds under management. TPI assesses how companies are preparing for a transition to a low-carbon economy.

“The initiative came about as a result of the National Investing Bodies’ climate change policy, which committed us to engage more intensively with companies on climate change and assess whether they are taking seriously their responsibilities to assist with the transition to a low-carbon economy,” the report said.


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