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Central Finance Board

The Board was set up under the Methodist Church Funds Act of 1960 and was given much greater freedom to invest in equities than had previously been allowed. Charitable funds were greatly restricted at that time, with a high emphasis on fixed-interest funds. Local Churches were encouraged to invest their various funds with the Board, with a choice of different types of investment, all managed by experts. Within a year or two the funds had risen to several million pounds and by 1997 £660m was managed on behalf of local churches and connexional funds. The Board was also charged with managing a Covenant scheme which took advantage of the provisions of successive Chancellors of the Exchequer to recover tax paid on gifts and donations received under deed of covenant or the Gift Aid arrangements.

By 2015 £1,080 million was managed on behalf of Methodist bodies at all levels, in a variety of equity, fixed and inflation-linked interest, property and deposit funds.

In 1983 the Joint Advisory Committee on the Ethics of Investment (‘JACEI’) was established by the Conference to provide a mechanism for the church to deal with ethical dilemmas associated with investment and to report annually to the Conference. This committee contains representatives of the Central Finance Board and of those charged with the responsibility of scrutiny of the ethical stance of the board to ensure that it is in accordance with the aims of the Methodist Church. It has dealt, over the years, with a wide range of issues, e.g. gambling, breast milk substitutes, animal welfare, climate change and fossil fuels, the living wage, human rights engagement, high levels of executive pay, and its in-depth reports (found in the annual agendas of the Conference) have commanded wide respect.

See also Finance, local; Finance, ministerial

Entry written by: DRF
Category: Organisation

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