HC Deb 27 July 1998 vol 317 c18
43. Mr. Peter L. Pike (Burnley)

If he will make a statement on the Church Commissioners' strategy for the allocation of their assets. [50811]

Mr. Stuart Bell (Second Church Estates Commissioner, representing the Church Commissioners

During 1997, the Church Commissioners conducted a comprehensive review of their investment and asset allocation strategy, which aims to provide long-term, stable support for the Church's ministry. As a result, they are rebalancing their assets in favour of securities, primarily UK equities, while reducing their property exposure.

Mr. Pike

Given the recent turbulence in the overseas equity market, will my hon. Friend explain why the Church Commissioners are increasing their investment in equities at present?

Mr. Bell

There has been volatility in the far east equity markets, and I have said that the global economy has a thatched roof and there is a fire in that thatched roof in the far east. The commissioners were fortunate in that their exposure was relatively low in that area. Having studied independent research, they believe that UK equities provide the best long-term match with their expenditure commitments, and they intend to retain them as a cornerstone of their fund, whatever the short-term fluctuations in the market, to increase their assets from 50 to 65 per cent. of those assets.

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