THE total value of the Representative Body’s investments had risen by one per cent to £542 million, the deputy chairman of the Representative Body, Paul Marshall, said.
The year started with strong asset returns in the first quarter of 2015, but was affected by declining asset values in the second and third quarters, caused by the Greek financial crisis and the weakness in the Chinese economy, before a “rebound” in the final quarter produced a total return of 5.1 per cent.
He said that the Church in Wales was insulated from the “new uncertainty in the world economy” caused by the Brexit referendum result. “The pound immediately fell, and UK domestic stock was hit hard” as a result of the referendum, he said. “The high proportion of international earnings generated by many UK listed companies provided a buffer. As the pound fell, the value of international profits rose, as did the share price of a number of UK multinationals.
“Because we have a high proportion of overseas stock, this tends to insulate us both from Brexit and the fall in value of the pound.”
The chairman of the Representative Body, James Turner, said that the Church in Wales was “currently spending in the order of £2 million more than it receives in income.”
He said that this was a conscious decision, in order to ensure that the Church receives crucial support in key areas.
“Such an approach cannot be sustained forever,” he said, “but it can be justified for now whilst the Church undergoes a period of significant change. It is hoped that by making additional resources available during this period, the Representative Body will play a full part in reshaping and re-equipping the Church in Wales for its future mission.”
He said that the Representative Body was focusing its efforts on funding the clergy pension scheme, the block grant to dioceses, ministry training, and the £3.5-million 2020 Vision transformation fund. That money — to be match-funded by the dioceses — has been set aside to fund new works being undertaken as part of the Church in Wales’s 2020 Vision, leading up to its centenary. The first £1 million was released in 2015.