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Council / Value of council investments rise by over £60 million as markets improve

Lerwick Town Hall.

THE RETURN on Shetland Islands Council’s investments between April and the end of June was the highest for “quite some time”, according to finance chief Jamie Manson.

The value of the council’s investments grew in value by £60 million to £374 million at the end of June.

By the end of July this had risen further to £378 million.

This means that the value of the investments has returned to pre-Covid levels after taking a dip.

The SIC's new finance director Jamie Manson.SIC finance director Jamie Manson.

“Since the start of this financial year the market conditions have improved significantly,” Manson told members of the council’s policy and resources committee on Monday.

This is in part down to measures imposed by national government and central banking institutions, he added.

Overall the combined investment return between April and the end of June was just over 20 per cent.

“The quarter one return of 20 per cent is the highest we have seen for quite some time,” Manson said.

South mainland member Robbie McGregor questioned whether the furlough scheme ending in October would impact the market and have a knock-on effect on the council’s investments.

“We expect some impact on employment rates to start to appear, or become more obvious, once that happens,” Manson said.

He expected there is likely be some market volatility as a result, but he said the impact should be offset by gains elsewhere.

Stressing that the performance of the market is liable to change, council leader Steven Coutts said the review of the first quarter of the year was a short-term look at “what is very long-term investments”.

The council has four fund managers, with Bailie Gifford looking after the largest portion of the investments at 56 per cent.