The Wellcome Trust has a £23.2 billion investment portfolio (at 30 September 2017) which funds all the work we do. The portfolio is managed by our investment team.

Our overall investment objective is to generate 4.5% real return over the long term.

This is to provide for real increases in annual expenditure while preserving the Trust's capital base to balance the needs of current and future beneficiaries.

We use this absolute return strategy because it aligns asset allocation with funding requirements and provides a competitive framework in which to judge individual investments.

Total portfolio cumulative net returns since 1986 (%)

Between 1936 and 1986, the Trust was the sole owner of the Wellcome Foundation, Henry Wellcome's drug company.

In 1986, the Trust began floating shares in the Foundation and used the proceeds to diversify its assets.

Since this first flotation, the endowment has experienced an average 14% growth every year. This has allowed us to greatly increase the funds available to disburse in charitable grants.

Total portfolio net returns (£) period to 30 September 2017

 Annualised return in £ (%)  
 NominalUK CPIReal
Trailing 1 year16.92.214.7
Trailing 3 years13.81.012.8
Trailing 5 years15.01.513.5
Trailing 10 years9.12.46.7
Trailing 20 years8.51.96.6
Since October 198513.92.911.2
 Cumulative return in £ (%)  
 NominalUK CPIReal
Trailing 3 years47344
Trailing 5 years101893
Trailing 10 years13826112
Trailing 20 years40747360
Since October 19856,4101396,271
Net returns include impact of all external management fees/expenses and custodial costs.


Henry Wellcome's will creates the Wellcome Group (now the Wellcome Trust). The Group owns the Wellcome Foundation Limited, the drug company.

Death duties are considerable and have to be partially funded by selling some of Henry's historical medical collection. The remainder after death duties is £3 million.


The Wellcome Foundation Limited begins developing breakthrough drugs, and sales grow from £10m a year in 1952 to £50m a year by the 1960s.

Blockbuster drugs such as Zyloric (1966) and Septrin (1967) increase sales to about £400m a year by 1977.


Zovirax is developed. It becomes the world's first billion-dollar drug in 1985.


Henry's will is legally amended to allow the flotation of 21% of the drug company. The Foundation becomes a public limited company, Wellcome plc.


A secondary share offering raises a further £2.3bn and allows the Trust to diversify its assets further.


The Foundation merges with Glaxo.

In the years up to 2001, the Trust sells out of the combined Glaxo Wellcome shares to diversify its holding.


The Trust becomes the only UK-domiciled non-public sector organisation with an Aaa/AAA credit rating and the first UK charity to issue a listed bond.

Grant giving

In the Trust's first 20 years, we disbursed a total of £1.17m of dividends. Until 1972, our trustees allowed the majority of profits to be reinvested to build up the strength of the drug company.

Between 1965 and 1991, we disbursed about £100m.

Disbursements grew from £20m in 1985 to £100m in 1992 and £200m in 1994.

Over the 2016–17 financial year, our charitable disbursements rose to £1,221m.

The Wellcome Trust endowment now stands at approximately £23.2bn.

Our approach to investing is set out in our Investment policy [PDF 62KB]. This is reviewed at least every two years by our Board of Governors and Investment Committee.


We welcome the introduction of the FRC Stewardship Code [PDF 140KB], and support the industry's continued efforts to strengthen the role played by institutional investors in corporate governance.

Philosophy and competitive advantages

In the deliberate absence of any pre-determined strategic asset allocation, with the exception of very broad asset ranges, the following investment beliefs drive our asset allocation:

  1. Sufficient liquidity must be maintained to avoid the forced sale of assets at distressed prices. Real assets offer the best long-term growth prospects and provide protection against inflationary pressures.
  2. To maximise investment returns from global economic activity, the portfolio should be very broadly diversified with no innate geographical bias.
  3. We seek to use the advantages of our long-term investment horizon, ability to tolerate high levels of short-term volatility, AAA balance sheet and proactive governance structure in our investment portfolio.
  4. The best returns will be driven by combining aligned partnership with the strongest external managers and building in-house resource to own selected assets directly.
  5. We're generally flexible about the vehicles we invest in, whether public companies or private partnerships.

Asset allocation

The net value of our investment asset base was approximately £23.2bn at 30 September 2017.

We invest across all asset classes and, for reporting purposes, split them into four areas:

  • public equity
  • hedge funds
  • private equity
  • property and infrastructure.

Investment asset allocation at 30 September

Change in allocation Sept 2016 to Sept 2017 %
Total public equities13,48718,09552.350.548.01.8
Developed world9811,3163.84.95.1(1.1)
Growth markets2,4573,2969.
Equity index futures and options*2333120.9--0.9
Commodity futures and options*3104161.2--1.2
Hedge funds2,3683,1779.210.711.8(1.5)
Equity long/short1,5032,0165.86.56.2(0.7)
Directional hedge funds3604831.41.92.4(0.5)
Non-directional hedge funds5056782.02.33.2(0.3)
Private equity6,2388,37024.225.223.9(1.0)
Buyout funds1,1971,6064.65.15.5(0.5)
Specialist funds1,2891,7305.05.13.9(0.1)
Multi asset partnerships6909252.73.12.9(0.4)
Venture funds2,2032,9568.58.88.9(0.3)
Net overlay assets*(13)(18)(0.0)(0.0)(0.1)(0.0)
Total assets25,76034,561----
Bond liabilities(2,041)(2,738)----
Other liabilities(531)(713)----
Total liabilities(2,572)(3,451)----
Total assets net of all liabilities23,18831,110----
*As of September 2017, the equity and commodity derivatives have been shown separately as notional exposures, with futures offsets included in other liabilities. Net overlay assets comprise foreign exchange overlays and the related cash collateral amounts due to counterparties.

Wellcome Trust Bonds are stated at quoted offer price in the table above. The bonds are carried at amortised cost in the Consolidated Balance Sheet. Investment assets exclude programme-related investments.

The investment asset allocation presents net investment assets by investment strategy rather than the statutory asset and liabilities classification basis presented in the Financial Statements. For example, the market value of Long Only Equities Global is the net market value of the equities, cash, investment debtors and investment creditors held within portfolios with a Global Equities investment strategy.

Public equity

A significant portion of our portfolio is invested in shares listed on equity markets around the world. We do this both directly through a portfolio of shares managed by our Investment team and through third-party managers.

There's no innate geographical bias in our equity portfolio – we're focused on owning well-managed businesses that are best able to take advantage of economic opportunities around the world.

When we appoint external equity managers to manage money on our behalf, we prefer active managers who share our long-term time horizon and run concentrated portfolios.

Public equity net returns (%) Period to 30 September 2017

 Annualised return in £ (%)  
 1 year3 years5 years
Developed world19.016.018.6
Growth markets13.811.310.3
Total public equities19.615.315.5
MSCI AC World15.515.115.0

Public equity allocations by strategy (£) As at 30 September

Indirectly managed3,7414,2203,5404,0734,044
Developed markets7241,1391,0251,8661,953
Growth markets1,5191,7391,4091,5621,560
Directly managed9,7467,4426,1235,4744,045
Mega cap basket6,0915,2134,0553,8833,352
Optionality basket2,4601,7991,7891,379612
Growth basket53643027921181

Direct public equity holdings > US$150m As at 30 September 2017

Return on cost
dates differ)
46Bank Of America378507143%
67JPMorgan Chase335450215%
712Morgan Stanley304408139%
85Royal Dutch Shell30440773%
933Banco Santander28638456%
1515Berkshire Hathaway256344157%
2319Marks & Spencer19426197%
2624Cisco Systems171229129%
2822Procter & Gamble17022885%
3129Johnson & Johnson165221180%
3227Sumitomo Mitsui FG14319226%
3323General Electric135182102%
3526Rio Tinto Plc11315167%
*Return on cost has been adjusted for when the asset was held directly as a private company

Hedge funds

We are one of the largest institutional investors in hedge funds.

We're prepared to consider a variety of approaches but avoid funds that employ substantial leverage to achieve returns. In general, most of the funds we invest in are closed to new investors.

Hedge fund net returns (%) Period to 30 September 2017

 Annualised return in US$ (%)
 1 year3 years5 years10 years
Non directional6.
Equity Long/Short15.
Total hedge funds13.
MSCI AC World19.

Hedge fund investments by strategy (£) As at 30 September

Non directional505533633558506
Equity Long/Short1,5031,4951,2511.073929
Total hedge funds2,3682,4632,3762,1652,040

Private equity

We have major exposure to private equity. This is mainly through partnerships with well-established buyout and venture groups across a broad range of locations and sectors.

We also selectively co-invest in direct opportunities alongside external managers.

Private equity fund net returns (%) Period to 30 September 2017

 1 year3 years5 years10 years
Large buyouts25.614.315.38.8
Mid buyouts16.69.912.1N/A
MSCI AC World19.

Private equity investment by strategy (£) As at 30 September


Multi-Asset Partnerships (MAPs) Period to 30 September 2017

 Annualised returnValue
 £ (%)US$ (%)
MAPs (inception Jan 2013)7.93.6690

Property and infrastructure

We have a global portfolio of property. Our major asset is our freehold estate in South Kensington, London.

Investment in commercial property and infrastructure is driven by finding attractive value propositions at the appropriate risk profile.

Property net returns (%) Period to 30 September 2017

 Annualised return in £ (%)            

1 year3 years5 years10 years
Non- residential property9.
Residential property0.

Property investments by strategy (£) As at 30 September

Non-residential property1,0021,0761,319795655
Re sidential property1,2421,2791,2721,2161,101
Residential property includes the South Kensington estate, other rented residential properties and services apartments.

Risk management

We are very focused on both the qualitative and quantitative risks we take in our investments.

Our Investments team focuses on qualitative risk by continually meeting managers and through ongoing due diligence.

Our internal risk and performance team analyses the overall portfolio risk as well as the quantitative risk attributable to each asset class and underlying investment.

Investment risk is monitored and managed through a policy of holistic measurement using the following parameters:

  • value-at-risk (one-year horizon)
  • currency risk (both £ and US$ exposure)
  • equity market beta (expectation of movement in the portfolio given a certain percentage change in global equity markets)
  • liquidity and forecast cash holdings.

Bondholder information

In July 2006, we became the only UK-domiciled non-public sector organisation with an AAA credit rating and the first UK charity to issue a listed bond.

The £550m proceeds from the issue are being used for investments that, over the long term, will enable us to fund a wide range of scientific and medical research to improve health worldwide.

We received the International Financing Review award for the 2006 Sterling Bond of the Year for 'demonstrating the relevance of the capital markets to the sector and capturing the imagination of the investor community'.

Following our inaugural issue, it has been our strategy to regularly review market conditions and, on occasion, access the bond markets again when circumstances are appropriate.

We did so in:

  • spring 2009 - benchmark gilts rallied and the Trust's credit spread showed signs of relative strength, given its continued AAA (stable)/Aaa (stable) ratings.

Our initial book was more than three and a half times oversubscribed given strong demand for high-quality fixed-income product. Reflecting this, we priced with the tightest credit spread over benchmark gilts in investment grade, primary, Sterling markets since December 2007.

  • 2014 - demand for very long duration, high-grade issuance was significant. We issued bonds with a 45-year tenor.

Our initial order book was more than three and a half times oversubscribed, which allowed us to price at what we believe was the tightest spread for a non government-related issuer in the Sterling markets since the financial crisis of September 2008. We also believe this was the lowest coupon for a non government-related issuer in the Sterling markets for a bond with a maturity in excess of 40 years.

  • January 2015 - we issued our first euro bond.

This was priced at a spread of 40bps over mid swaps, with the 1.125% coupon the lowest ever for an Aaa/AAA rated corporate in the euro bond market. It is the lowest ever coupon in the euro bond market for a corporate issuance with a tenor of longer than ten years. The initial order book was seven and a half times over-subscribed.

  • February 2018 - we issued our first century bond

This was priced at a spread of 80bps over the benchmark 2068 Gilt, with the 2.517% coupon the all-time lowest for a 100-year Sterling bond, the lowest coupon for a 100-year corporate bond in any currency, and the lowest coupon for a Sterling corporate bond with a tenor of longer than 50 years. The initial order book was £3.4bn and, as a result, was four and a half times over-subscribed.

Details of bond issues

Date of issueJuly 2006May 2009May 2014January 2015February 2018
Size £550.00 MM  £275.00 MM  £400.00 MM€400.00 MM£750.00 MM
Tenor30 years12 years45 years12 years100 years
IssuerWellcome Trust Finance PLC  The Wellcome Trust Limited,
as trustee of the Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust Limited,
as trustee of the Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust Limited,
as trustee of the Wellcome Trust
Issuer ratingAaa/AAAAaa/AAAAaa/AAAAaa/AAAAaa/AAA
StructureSenior, Unsecured Bonds  
GuarantorThe Wellcome Trust Limited, as trustee of the Wellcome TrustN/AN/AN/A
Parent ratingAaa/AAAAaa/AAAAaa/AAAAaa/AAAAaa/AAA

The team manages our endowment and oversees all investments.

Emeritus partner
Danny Truell

Managing partners
Peter Pereira Gray, Chief Executive Officer, Investment Division
Nick Moakes, Chief Investment Officer

Absolute return and buyouts
Robert Coke, team head
Alex Dickson
Elaina Elzinga
Paul Verhaak
Richard Walters

Direct private investments
Lisha Patel, team head
Bryan Calonnec
Yiota Michou

Public markets
Joanne Bugg
Catherine Fraser
Hamid Kadiallah
Fabian Thehos
Marc Vuillemey

Property and infrastructure
Catherine Eastwood
Becky Edmunds
Robert Holl
Jamie Trivedi-Bateman
Natalie Wong

Venture and equity long/short
Geoffrey Love, team head
Hermione Robinson
Dhruv Patel

Risk management and performance
Sarah Fromson, head of Investment Risk
Adit Mehta

Investment services
Christopher Weston, head of Investment Services
Kirill Arakcheev
Mason Hayward
John Mills

Administrative support
Luxy Cunningham
Jennie Faurie
Gina Sexton
Jayne Shaw

    The Board of Governors determines the broad structure of our asset management arrangements. The Investment Committee is a sub-committee of the Board of Governors and has oversight responsibilities.

    Alan Brown


    Alan Brown read natural sciences at the University of Cambridge before starting a career in the investment management industry, where he worked for almost 40 years. He has held positions as a chief investment officer for the past 23 years, most recently as an Executive Director at Schroders.

    Alan's other responsibilities include Chair of the Board of the Carbon Disclosure Project, and Chair of the Board of the Westway Trust. He is a non-executive director of Pool Reinsurance Company, a scheme established to provide cover for losses arising from terrorism. Previously he was a Director of the Investment Management Association and an alternate member of the Takeover Panel.

    Stefan Dunatov

    External member

    Stefan Dunatov is Head of Investment Risk, Strategy and Research at bcIMC, which has $130bn in assets under management for pension and insurance companies. He is also Chair of the 300 Club, a global group of investment professionals aiming to improve investment governance and strategy for asset owners and stakeholders.

    Previously, he was Chief Investment Officer at Coal Investments (UK) and has also worked at Deutsche Asset Management, Equitas Insurance, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and HSBC. He studied economics and law at the University of Auckland and completed his Master's in economics at the London School of Economics.  

    Dr Jeremy Farrar


    Before joining Wellcome in October 2013, Jeremy was Director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam for 18 years. His research interests were infectious diseases, tropical health and emerging infections. He has published over 500 peer-reviewed scientific papers, mentored many dozens of students and fellows, and served as Chair on several advisory boards for governments and global organisations, including the World Health Organization. He was named 12th in Fortune's list of the World's 50 Greatest Leaders in 2015.

    Jeremy was appointed OBE in 2005 for services to tropical medicine, was awarded the Memorial Medal and the Ho Chi Minh City Medal by the Government of Vietnam, and has been honoured by the Royal College of Physicians in the UK and the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. He is a Fellow of both the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Society.

    Michael Ferguson

    Deputy Chair of the Board of Governors

    Mike Ferguson is Regius Professor of Life Sciences and academic lead for Research Strategy in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee. His personal research takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the biochemistry of protozoan parasites that cause tropical diseases. He believes in the fundamental importance of working across the biology-chemistry interface and in interdisciplinary research in general.

    He is particularly interested in translational research and, together with his colleagues, established the Drug Discovery Unit at the University of Dundee and led the construction of the Discovery Centre (for Translational and Interdisciplinary Research).

    He also directs a proteomics facility that supports much of the work of his colleagues in the Schools of Life Sciences and Medicine, and other academic and commercial organisations.

    Sarah Fromson

    Head of Risk

    Sarah joined Wellcome in 2008 and is responsible for measurement analysis and recommendations to manage investment risks and associated operational risk.

    She was previously Chief Investment Risk Officer at the asset management arm of Royal Bank of Scotland Asset Management. She is a non-executive director of the JPM Emerging Markets Income Trust and a member of the Girton College Investment Committee.

    Sarah gained an MA in Natural Sciences at Girton College and an MBA at London Business School.

    Naguib Kheraj

    External member

    Naguib began his banking career at Salomon Brothers in 1986 and went on to hold a number of senior positions at Robert Fleming, Barclays, JP Morgan Cazenove and Lazard. During 12 years at Barclays, he served as group finance director and vice-chairman, and in various business leadership positions in wealth management, institutional asset management and investment banking. He was a Barclays’ nominated non-executive director of ABSA Group in South Africa and of First Caribbean International Bank. 

    Naguib is a former non-executive director of NHS England and served as a senior advisor to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and to the Financial Services Authority in the UK. He is Chairman of Rothesay Life, a specialist pensions insurer, and a member of the Finance Committee of the Oxford University Press. He is also a senior advisor to the Aga Khan Development Network and serves on the boards of various entities within its network.

    Tim Livett

    Chief Financial Officer

    Tim joined Wellcome in December 2014 and is responsible for the leadership of the Finance and IT departments.

    After graduating in chemistry, he joined ICI/Zeneca and trained as an accountant. He has spent the majority of his career in commercial aviation, working for British Airways and, after a short break, at Virgin Atlantic, most recently in the role of Chief Financial Officer.

    Eliza Manningham-Buller

    Chair of the Board of Governors

    Eliza Manningham-Buller has been Chair of Wellcome since 2015, having served as a Governor since 2008.

    In 2015, Eliza became the Co-President of Chatham House, Royal Institute of International Affairs. She served on the Council of Imperial College from 2009 and was Chair of Council from 2011 to 2015.

    She was appointed an independent, crossbench peer in the House of Lords in 2008, and has been a member of the Privileges and Conduct Committee, the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, and the Science and Technology Committee.

    Previously, Eliza had a career with MI5 for more than 30 years, including a posting to the British Embassy in Washington. She served as Director General from 2002 to 2007, and before that was Deputy Director General with responsibility for operations.

    Eliza was educated at Benenden School and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, where she taught for three years before joining MI5 in 1974.

    David Mayhew

    External member

    David is Chair of JP Morgan Cazenove and a Vice-Chair of JP Morgan.

    He joined Cazenove & Co in 1969 from Panmure Gordon. In 1972 he became the firm's dealing partner and was subsequently responsible for the institutional equity department. In 1986 he became the partner in charge of the firm's capital markets department. He became Chair of Cazenove Group plc on incorporation in 2001 and of JPMorgan Cazenove in 2005. David was appointed chair of Cazenove Capital Holdings in 2005.

    He was a non-executive director of Rio Tinto Limited and Rio Tinto plc from 2000 to 2010, and is a member of the Takeover Panel Appeal Board and a trustee of the Royal Anniversary Trust.

    Nick Moakes

    Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer

    Nick is directly responsible for Wellcome's global equity, FX and derivatives exposure, as well as playing a key role in broader investment strategy and management of the Investment Team. 

    Nick joined Wellcome in 2007 from BlackRock Investment Management where he was Head of the Asia Pacific investment team and co-head of Emerging Markets. He has 27 years' professional experience in Asia, and 22 years' experience in global equity markets.

    He graduated in Modern History and Economics from Balliol College, Oxford, and is a CFA charter holder. Before joining BlackRock in 1997, Nick lived in Hong Kong for nine years. He is a Chinese speaker. He started his career in the Diplomatic Service.

    Nick is Chair of the Imperial College London Endowment Fund and a Non-Executive Director of the Foreign and Colonial Investment Trust. He's also a board member of the UK Investor Forum, which aims to align the interests of listed companies and long-term shareholders.

    Peter Pereira Gray

    Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer, Investment Division

    Peter joined Wellcome in January 2001. He works with a team managing Wellcome's £23 billion multi-asset global investment portfolio. Peter's day-to-day responsibilities include overseeing Wellcome's privately held assets (private equity, real estate, venture capital and private direct holdings). In addition, he is Chair of the farming and land management business, FarmCare Ltd, and of Premier Marinas Ltd. Peter is also a Main Board Director of Vero Group Limited, the newly formed student housing joint venture with Goldman Sachs.

    He is a life member and past Chair of the Investment Property Forum, a past founding and advisory board member and member of the management board of INREV, a member of the Bank of England Commercial and Residential Property Forums, and a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

    Peter is also an Advisory Board member for Composition Capital Partners, an honorary vice-president of Cambridge University Land Society, a Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and an Advisory Board member and Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Continuing Professional Development.

    Danny Truell

    Emeritus Partner of Investments

    Danny joined Wellcome in 2005, having previously been a Managing Director of Goldman Sachs in its investment management division. Before joining Goldman Sachs in 1996, Danny's career was focused on Asian financial markets.

Financial information

Read our latest annual reports, financial statements and bondholder update.

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