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Church’s Wonga debacle shows need for portfolio scrutiny (UK)

The archbishop of Canterbury’s...condemnation of payday lending followed by news that the Church of England is indirectly invested in Wonga, a high-interest lender, is another wake-up call for institutional investors to know exactly what their portfolios hold...The revelation is especially difficult for a church endowment fund priding itself on a strong ethical investment policy. For...[the] leader of the world’s Anglican community, it takes the shine off his plan to encourage credit unions to be set up in churches across the UK and put payday lenders out of business...The Church of England £5.2bn investment fund, which explicitly bans companies involved in payday lending, invests in Accel Partners, the US venture capital firm that led Wonga’s fundraising in 2009...Strong governance reporting coupled with robust responsible investment analysis would help institutional investors to avoid the reputational harm the Church of England has...experienced...[refers to Calstrs, Textron, PGGM, Walmart, Camradata]