Statement: offshore investments

In response to a recent article in Science magazine, we have released the following statement.

Wellcome is a global charitable foundation based in the UK, providing more than £1 billion a year for research to improve health. We can do this only because of the success of our endowment, which is invested in a globally diversified portfolio of assets with the goal of providing stable and sustainable funding for our mission in perpetuity.

With this long-term goal in mind, we regard our endowment as a resource which makes our charitable work possible and not as an instrument through which we seek to achieve our mission. This successful strategy has allowed us to double our spending on science and research over the past decade.

Our long-term approach requires diversification across asset classes such as private equity, in which we partner with funds that make investment decisions on behalf of many investors. We seek to invest through the best of these funds, some of which have offshore domiciles.

Our status as a UK charity means that we are exempt from most taxes that we would otherwise pay on our investments. Because of this we have no need to choose offshore funds to shelter our assets from tax liabilities, and we do not structure our portfolio or make investment decisions based on the tax status of particular funds.

We believe that the companies and funds in which we invest should be environmentally and socially responsible, as this contributes to the licence to operate which is important to all sustainable businesses. We engage on these issues with the companies in which we invest directly, and with the managers of funds through which we invest indirectly.