Ecclesiastical IM sells all gold holdings

Ecclesiastical Investment Management (EIM), part of a UK-based financial services group linked to the Church of England, and with some £1.5bn assets, has sold all its gold holdings in anticipation of an end to the Bank of England’s quantitative easing programme.

Chief investment officer Robin Hepworth said the sale realised profits of 28% on the original purchase in October 2010. The FTSE All-Share index, by comparison, is up just 1%.

“I’ve made this call on the back of the recent Monetary Policy Committee meeting, where it was decided not to support a further round of Quantitative Easing,” he said.

“I believe the effectiveness of QE has been, and will increasingly be questioned. The recent strength of the US dollar shows that the forex markets are also not convinced the (US) Fed will fulfil its pledge to maintain QE through to 2015.’

Hepworth, who co-manages Ecclesiastical’s Charity fund, joined the group in 1988. He has managed the Amity International Fund since its launch in 1999 and the Higher Income Fund since launch in 1994.  Prior to that he spent three years at the Church Commissioners for England.

He said the QE programme has been a major support to the gold price and without the additional printing of money this could have a negative impact on price of gold. “I believe now is the right time to exit the holding and take the profits.”

Industry rating agencies A.M. Best gives EIM an A rating, and Standard & Poor’s awards an ‘A-‘. The firm was established in 1887 as the Ecclesiastical Buildings Fire Office to protect the Anglican Church, and then developed into a wider insurance provider. It now offers a range of insurance, financial services and risk management services.

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