Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Investments - Guy's & St Thomas' Foundation

Investments

We set our endowment dual objectives: financial returns and health impact.

Lab technician at work

Capital to support health

We are the custodian of one of the largest charitable endowments in the UK. In our role as an investor, we are working towards a portfolio where our investments achieve both financial returns and health impact.

We combine mainstream and impact investments that aim for both a sustainable financial return and a measurable impact on health.

Our mainstream investing portfolio predominantly invests in funds, including a number that are healthcare-related. A combination of in-house and external financial expertise, including our dedicated Investment Committee, ensures these investments combine competitive returns. We invest carefully and for the long-term, maintaining a diversified portfolio across asset classes and geographies.

We manage our investments on a long-term basis. Each year we transfer around 4% of the value of our endowment to fund our charitable work. Learn more about our investment rule.

Our investment portfolio

£600m

in financial investments

£120m

of our investments are in healthcare and biotechnology

Becoming a more responsible and engaged investor

We believe that building a healthier society requires responsible business practices.

We aim for all our investments to meet recognised ethical, environmental and governance standards and to be consistent with our values and our need to generate financial returns.

Today, we consider the impact of our investments on issues like climate change, and work to ensure we only invest in funds that operate in line with the United Nations Global Compact.

We also choose not to invest directly in tobacco-related shares, bonds or property, and monitor carefully to keep any indirect investments in tobacco down to below 0.25% of our endowment.

Through our emerging investment engagement strategy, we are working to improve corporate and investment behaviours. This involves sharing insights and encouraging investors and businesses to create the conditions that support more equitable health. For example, ensuring the investment chain works to increase the availability of healthy foods in the food industry, broaden the adoption of environmental, social and governance (ESG) approaches, and improve diversity in the industry. 

We belong to several responsible investing networks and initiatives, and are looking to join others to help us reach Net Zero in our portfolio as soon as possible. We are currently members of:

These networks open wider opportunities for us to achieve health impact. For example, in partnership with ShareAction, we launched the Healthy Markets campaign which harnesses the power of the investment system to influence food and drink manufacturers to support healthier options for consumers. 

Tenant from St Mungo's property development

Housing for health

By investing in new flats, we are supporting hundreds of previously homeless families with a springboard to build healthier and more resilient lives.

Investing for impact

Our impact investment strategy is driven by a commitment to make more of our capital work for our mission.

Impact investments are defined by an intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. In 2018, we allocated 5% of our endowment assets, around £50 million, for our emerging impact investing portfolio. We want to demonstrate that investing in health is good business.

We run our impact investing activities from our endowment, rather than from its regular proceeds. This is because our ambition is to scale this work. 

We are a permanent endowment, which means we keep the majority of our resources in investments. By testing whether we can deploy significant investments through an impact-lens, we are really asking ourselves whether we can deploy all of our investments in this way. 

We run our impact investing activities from our endowment, rather than from its regular proceeds. This is because our ambition is to scale this work.

Through our portfolio of impact investments, we are backing bold ideas to come to issues from different angles – whether pioneering medical technology or helping to address social determinants of health like housing.

Our impact investments

£31m

committed to impact investments to date

£7.5m

committed to impact investments in the previous financial year

Our impact investment principles

There are three guiding pillars for our impact investing work:

  • Returns commensurate with risk: our impact investments must generate market risk-adjusted returns, allowing us to grow and replenish our endowment so we can continue to invest in a healthier society. In practice, this has generated two broad types of investment. One we would describe as ‘impact managed’, where our input is supporting established funds to increase the depth of their impact. The other we would describe as ‘catalytic’, where our capital is helping newer funds or models get off the ground.
  • Impact alignment: our work focuses on the social realities of health. This means we are investing in sectors such as housing and employment as well as medical technologies and life sciences. We are also attentive to the inverse gradient in health – namely, that those who most need care are least likely to receive it – and set the centre of our target to be underserved urban communities.
  • Learning opportunities: our pioneering approach to impact investments, alongside other leading UK philanthropic organisations, gives us an opportunity to learn and to enhance our own work, while sharing our knowledge and encouraging others to explore ‘more for mission’ approaches.

To support our investments, we also strive to deepen our understanding of the UK’s major health challenges and to identify promising solutions and the fund managers behind them. We forge strong, collaborative partnerships with fund managers. To add value to these relationships and to help position our investments for success, we also invest non-financial resources, including taking on advisory positions and offering health expertise.

Impact investment portfolio

Find out more about where we're investing for financial returns and health impact.