From Mr Chris Anker
Sir, — David Webster (Letters, 12 August) asks why the restriction on the Church Commissioners’ holding shares in newspaper-publishers was lifted. This occurred in 2006, after a careful review by the Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG).
The EIAG recommended that, as journalistic comment was by then available across a wide range of online and other media formats, newspapers should no longer be singled out as an area for continued exclusion. The EIAG’s recommendation was accepted by all the National Investing Bodies, and so News Corporation, along with all other restricted newspaper groups, became eligible for investment at that time.
The Church Commissioners invest across a variety of global markets and asset classes. As part of the strategy for investing in global stock markets, shares are held in index-tracking portfolios (adjusted for ethical-investment exclusions). As News Corporation is a constituent of one of the tracked indices (the MSCI World Index), the Commissioners have become shareholders in the company.
On behalf of the Commissioners and the other National Investing Bodies, the EIAG engages with investee companies on areas of concern to the Church. News Corporation has been no exception to this.
Corporate Governance and Engagement Officer
Church of England Ethical
Investment Advisory Group
London SW1P 3AZ