Hedge funds help Wellcome Trust foundation weather equities storm

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Charitable foundation the Wellcome Trust managed a return of 1.7 per cent from its £34.8 billion investment portfolio in the year to 30 September 2022, with some of its hedge fund allocations helping to offset big losses from equities, according to the Trust's latest annual report.

The charity, which was established in 1936 with legacies from pharmaceutical magnate Sir Henry Wellcome, registered a loss of 12.7% in absolute terms from its £13.7 billion public equities portfolio, with its £4.0 billion outsourced equity portfolio underperforming its internally managed equity investments. Wellcome’s £4.9 billion hedge fund portfolio meanwhile, which accounts for 12.4 per cent of the trust's total AUM delivered a positive return of +5.7%, although there was wide dispersion within the portfolio. 

Wellcome Trusts' absolute return fund investments generated a +33.7 per cent return, while its £2.3 billion allocation to equity long-short hedge funds performed worse than global equities with a return of -13.3%.

The top performing long-short manager retruned 16.2% while the worst was down 50.0%.

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