Forensic accounting reveals links between the Church of England endowment fund and slave trade

A report by the Church of England, based on a complex forensic investigation, has found that its £9 billion-plus endowment fund has links to the historic slave trade.

The findings show that some of the Church’s investments were made in companies that benefited from slavery, including funds related to Queen Anne’s Bounty – a financial scheme established in 1704.

This scheme invested significantly in the South Sea Company, which traded in enslaved people between 1714 and 1739.

As a result of the findings, the Church of England has committed £100 million to a fund to help address its historical ties to the international slave trade.

This new funding will support investment, research and engagement during the next nine years, which seeks to assist initiatives “focused on improving opportunities for communities adversely impacted by historic slavery”.

In order to determine the extent of its entanglement within its legacy funding, forensic accounting has been used by the Church to identify any links between its endowment fund and the enslavement of people over the centuries.

This has involved digging deeper into financial records over several centuries to trace the origins of the money it received.

Roger Isaacs, Forensic Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “The role of the forensic accountant often stretches beyond our primary work in the courts into many unique fields.

“Our expertise can be called upon for a wide range of studies and projects that help to untangle historic transactions and funding.

“This is a report that has had to look back over many years of records and different evolutions of the endowment fund to uncover the scale of its financial links to slavery. This has allowed the Church to launch this new project that supports communities affected by the history of this barbaric trade.”

Posted in The Forensic Blog.