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Meet the man tasked with overseeing the Church of England's £9.2bn investment portfolio

by Marcus Jones
Alan Smith HSBC.jpg - Banner image

Downing Street has announced that Alan Smith, a senior adviser and former global head of risk strategy at HSBC, will be the next First Church Estates Commissioner.

The role will see him chair the Church Commissioners' Assets Committee, which oversees the management of the Church of England's investment portfolio which is currently worth £9.2bn.

Welcoming his appointment, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: "I am delighted that Alan has chosen to use his skills and experience to serve the Church and greatly look forward to working with him. 

"Climate change is the most urgent challenge we face, and Alan's knowledge of environmental issues and risk management will be critically important for the Commissioners' work. I'd also like to thank Loretta Minghella for her hard work and leadership during her time at the Church Commissioners."

Speaking after his appointment, Alan Smith said: "I am honoured to be appointed to this important role at the Church Commissioners. Since I became a Commissioner in 2018, I have seen first-hand the impactful work we do to support the mission and ministry of the Church, and I'm excited to bring my financial services, ESG and risk management experience, and my faith, to this position.

"I'm looking forward to working with the talented team at the Church Commissioners to serve the Church even as the Church seeks to serve all the people of our nation at this pivotal time.  I intend to continue Loretta's impactful work with the investment team to address climate change, explore opportunities to enhance the supply of affordable housing, and maintain the Church's exceptional track record on responsible investment returns."

In recent years the Church has moved to make its investments more ethical, especially in the area of climate change.

Smith has led on this issue at HSBC and helped develop the bank's pledge last year to reduce financed emissions from its portfolio of customers to net zero by 2050 or sooner.

He will take up his new role on 1st October.

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