The Henry Smith Charity is a permanently endowed Trust. At present we hold approximately £1 billion of assets. We use the profit generated by these investments to fund our grant making. We aim to maintain a permanent pool of investments to fund our work into the future.
The performance of our investments is vitally important to us. If our investments perform well it means we can increase the amount we spend on grant-making. It also means we can preserve the real value of the endowment and ensure the long-term sustainability of the charity.
We aim to spend an average of 4% of our investment portfolio each year on grants; to be sustainable this requires investment returns of at least 4% plus inflation averaged over the long term.
Our investment strategy is to hold a diversified investment portfolio, with a substantial proportion invested in growth assets (e.g. equities and property) to provide longer term returns, and a smaller proportion in diversifying assets (e.g. bonds, hedge funds and cash) to mitigate market fluctuations and provide an alternative source of funding. Currently we hold around 65% of the portfolio in growth assets.
Recent investment performance
Investment returns, after deducting fees, were just over £3 million in 2018. The investment portfolio performed well relative to markets, some of which fell significantly, but absolute total returns for the portfolio in 2018 were +0.4%, well behind the long term benchmark of inflation + 4%.
Over longer periods, our investment returns have exceeded the long term benchmark over the last three years, five years and ten years.