Press release

Wellcome releases 2021/22 annual results

Wellcome Trust and Wellcome Trust Finance plc (a wholly owned subsidiary of The Wellcome Trust Limited as trustee of the Wellcome Trust) announce that they have each published their Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year to 30 September 2022 today.

Wellcome Trust has today issued the following press release in connection with the publication of its Annual Report and Financial Statements:

We are pleased to report that our charitable expenditure on Wellcome’s mission to support science to solve the urgent health challenges facing everyone was £1.4 billion, an increase of 11% from 2020/21. Our investment base fell slightly to £37.8 billion, a total return of 1.7 per cent, or -5.9 per cent after inflation, for the year to 30 September 2022.

The portfolio was resilient in a much more difficult year as financial markets faced multiple headwinds. After a long period of strong returns, the endowment remains very healthy and will continue to provide the resources for our commitment to spend £16bn on supporting science to solve urgent health challenges over the coming decade. We have returned 275 per cent cumulative (14.1 per cent annualised) in the decade since September 2012, recording positive returns in each of these years.  Returns have been 819 per cent cumulative (11.7 per cent annualised) over 20 years. Since the inception of our investment portfolio in 1985, it has provided a total return averaging 13.8 per cent a year.

We maintain a AAA/Aaa (stable) credit rating. Leverage stood at 7.1 per cent  on 30th September. We issued no new bonds during the year. We have no impending bond expiries until 2027.

Given our long-term investment performance, we remain committed to spending £16 billion on our charitable activities over the next ten years. This compares to around £5 billion over the last five years. While higher inflation will mean that our money can’t fund as much work as it otherwise would have done, this funding will increase our commitments to combat the three key worldwide health challenges of mental health, infectious disease and climate and health as well as maintaining high levels of support for discovery research.  

We saw mixed returns across the asset classes in which we invest (public equity, private equity, venture capital, hedge funds and property). Public equities and equity long short hedge funds delivered sharply negative returns while all other assets classes delivered positive returns, helped by a major tailwind from sterling weakness. As Sterling weakened, it moved further below long-term fundamental fair value leading us to increase currency hedges. At the end of the financial year, Sterling exposure stood at 23.9 per cent. We have maintained higher than usual levels of cash because of the difficult environment. On 30th September, our cash position was 8.2 per cent of gross assets.

Our strategy to achieve a net zero portfolio by 2050 at the latest was published in July 2021. Our annual report includes the second update on our net zero tracking data, which shows a positive trajectory. The target and strategy are and will continue to be an integral part of our investment decision-making and engagement.

Julia Gillard, Chair of the Wellcome Trust, said: “A strong year for Wellcome saw us funding across a broader range of disciplines and with more money behind curiosity-driven science than ever before in our discovery research programme. We’ve also funded exciting research and initiatives in climate and health, mental health and infectious disease. We are developing plans for advocacy campaigns that complement our funding by pushing for actions that will have a positive impact on research and, most importantly, on people’s health. We’re entering the new year confident that through our funding and campaigning we will make an even bigger impact.

“Our investment team have had to work hard this year to protect the endowment. However, their careful stewardship and long-term thinking over many years has put us in a strong position today. The exceptional long-term performance of the investment portfolio has meant that despite the tough economic environment, we can stick to our high level of spending commitments and keep supporting science to solve urgent health challenges."

Nick Moakes, Chief Investment Officer at Wellcome, added: "The portfolio has had a tough year against a difficult market backdrop. Our returns were the weakest returns since the Global Financial Crisis and, although positive in nominal Sterling terms, inflation has eroded the real value of our assets. We have been expecting a more difficult world for some time following more than a decade of extraordinary monetary and fiscal support. We do not expect things to get any easier in the near term. Our primary focus is therefore to protect long-term value as much as possible while maintaining ample liquidity to fund the mission. We will also look to take advantage of any exceptional opportunities that emerge from the current volatility to underpin future returns. The best investments are often made in the most difficult times."

Wellcome Trust Finance plc further announces that a copy of its Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 30 September 2022 has been submitted to the National Storage Mechanism and will shortly be available for inspection at

In accordance with the Disclosure and Transparency Rules, the following information is taken from the Annual Report and Financial Statements for Wellcome Trust Finance plc for the year ended 30 September 2022: