Thursday, 10 July 2014

Church Commissioners confirm Wonga exit

Updated Friday afternoon

The Church Commissioners issued this press release this evening.

Church Commissioners confirm Wonga exit

10 July 2014

The Church Commissioners for England are pleased to announce that their indirect investment exposure to Wonga in their venture capital portfolio has been removed. The Church Commissioners no longer have any financial or any other interest in Wonga.

The terms ensure that the Church Commissioners have not made any profit from their investment exposure to Wonga.

At no time have the Commissioners invested directly in Wonga or in other pay day lenders. The indirect exposure of the Commissioners through pooled funds represented considerably less than 0.01% of the value of Wonga.

The Church Commissioners estimate that if they had had to sell their entire venture capital holdings they might have lost £3-9m to remove the exposure to Wonga, which was worth less than £100,000. The Commissioners are pleased that another way forward has been agreed given their fiduciary duties to clergy pensioners and to all the parts of the Church they support financially.

The Commissioners believe venture capital to be a good and useful instrument with significant potential to serve the common good. It gets new businesses up and running and supports the economy and jobs.

The Commissioners have made a number of ethical investment changes. They have tightened their investment restrictions for direct investments, will announce new controls on indirect investments later in the year and have created a new responsible investment position in their investment team to lead the implementation of the Commissioners’ ethical investment policies and responsible investment commitments, supporting the work of the Ethical Investment Advisory Group.

The Commissioners’ focus remains the mission they share with the Archbishop of Canterbury - supporting the ministry and growth of the Church of England.

The Commissioners will also continue to seek ways, consistent with their fiduciary duties, to support the Church’s priority of promoting responsible credit and savings. In 2013 they provided £200,000 of start-up capital to the credit union the Church itself is establishing, the Churches’ Mutual Credit Union. As active stewards of their investments the Commissioners will continue to engage with financial services companies to encourage responsible credit and savings practice.

Update - press reports

Chris Johnston The Guardian Church of England finally severs financial links with Wonga

Paul Handley Church Times The Church of England pulls its cash out of Wonga

BBC Church of England ends Wonga investment

Ian Johnston Independent Church of England severs its links with payday lender Wonga

Sharlene Goff Financial Times Church of England sells indirect stake in Wonga

John Bingham The Telegraph Church of England finally casts out Wonga

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 10 July 2014 at 10:05pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England


They got that one right :-/

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Friday, 11 July 2014 at 8:22am BST

The lack of interest in this from TA readers speaks volumes...(about the church, not TA readers!)

Posted by: Alastair Newman on Friday, 11 July 2014 at 10:57am BST

As a Church of England pensioner I am more than grateful for the wise investments of the Church Commissioners. They carry out a service for the church, and for those of us who have given service to the church over our lifetime.
The church is a human institution, and therefore has human failings, but by Gods grace slowly moves forward.
Thinking Anglicans is a useful channel for our gripes, but also our thanks .
A channel for our prayers.

Fr John

Posted by: Fr John E. Harris-White on Friday, 11 July 2014 at 11:18am BST

As always, it is more likely that the lack of comment from TA readers simply suggests approval.
You cannot have a good debate about something everyone agrees on.
Maybe TA should have a "like" button so we can all click without being suspected of only caring about single issues?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 11 July 2014 at 7:36pm BST

Remind me again, why we *ever* thought it was right to invest in Wonga?

Company makes its profits by charging extortionate interest from the poorest sections of society.

Church wants its cut of those profits.

It was surely a serious error.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Saturday, 12 July 2014 at 7:01pm BST
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