On Saturday, December 8, 2018, the annual Consolidated Trust Fund (CTF) information session convened in one of the larger meeting rooms at St. Stephen, West Vancouver. Since 1991, the CTF, which consists of both diocesan and parish funds, is managed by Phillips, Hagar and North (PH&N), an investment company founded in Vancouver in 1964. PH&N is currently the Canadian institutional asset management division of RBC.
For the past three years, the two Institutional Portfolio Managers presenting the report to the diocese have been Paul Martin and Graeme Baker. Diocesan Treasurer, Bob Hardy, ODNW and the Director for Finance and Property, Rob Dickson organized the event on behalf of the diocese. Both Bob and Rob were present for the information session and sat with the two Managers as part of the presentation panel. Treasurers and wardens of the parishes of the diocese are invited to attend. However, the presentation is open to all members of the diocese. The invitation to parish officers responsible for the finances of their communities is also an encouragement to invite others in their parish that may have an interest in hearing the annual report.
It is important to keep in mind that this presentation is not an official report — it is for information only. The bulk of the report was a guided look-through a 30-page PowerPoint presentation in calendar sized booklet format.
The monthly activities of the CTF reported throughout the spring and summer of 2018, had been lethargic at best, which created more interest in the session than in recent years. The usual attendance at this annual information situation over the past seven years has been in the 12 – 15 range but for 2018 there were 24 present representing 13 parishes, the Anglican Church Women (ACW) and the Mission to Seafarers (MtS).
There has been an increase in funds, particularly in the diocesan portion of the CTF since the last information session in 2017. The total amount accrued and reported in the 2017 information sessions was $47.7 million, with the addition of the proceeds from the sale of St. Edward’s later in the fall, the year end total was $54.9 million. Overall activity in the CTF from the point of view of deposits and withdrawals included: $19.3 million deposited to the diocesan account from the sale of St. Monica, Horseshoe Bay, St. Margaret’s of Scotland, Lockport neighbourhood in Burnaby and St. Mark’s, Kitsilano; $1.4 million was withdrawn for loans and grants primarily funding the St. Hilda’s re-build and the St. Thomas, Vancouver renovation. A total of $1.15 million was deposited by parishes for their account with $1.71 million being withdrawn by parishes from their accounts. The market value of assets in the CTF as of September 30, 2018 was $73,868.494.
The investment strategy has not changed significantly. The CTF remains strong in terms of diversity, with investments in Canadian Equities and Global Equities as well as bonds, which do not earn the big numbers but are reliable and steady. With the 2018 total performance numbers hovering at around 2% and the increase in mortgage rates over the same period, inflation is also at 2% or slightly higher which has affected performance. However, Graeme and Paul are optimistic and expect a return to the average earnings of 5.5% in the near future.
Socially responsible investing has always been a priority of the diocese and of PH&N. In 2017, there was a change in the fund name. Prior to July 2017, ESG investments (Environment, Social, Government) were called PH&N Community Values Funds. These funds were merged with RBC Jantzi Funds to create the RBC Vision Funds. There were no changes to the teams managing the funds in the diocesan portfolio, no change to the screening criteria, such as Sustainalytics used in the selection of investments for the diocesan portfolio and the upside is a saving in administrative expenses due to the merger that since that time has been passed on to investors.
There were discussions about investments in fossil fuels and fossil fuel related companies. Both Graeme and Paul asserted that in terms of the criteria used to direct ESG investments, these companies have really “upped their game” and are considered good companies in terms of their corporate culture and practice. Some of these companies have moved to the level of “best of sector”.
If you would like more information about the CTF or any other information about diocesan finances please contact the Director of Finance and Property, Mr. Rob Dickson at [email protected] or phone 604.684.6306, ext. 215.
- The panel presenting to the room, consisting mostly of folks with financial responsibilities at their parishes and organizations
- The four panelists chat prior to the information session getting underway
- Diocesan Treasurer, Bob Hardy, ODNW
- Paul Martin of P,H&N