Catholic charity opted for real estate shares

A tradition-rich charity has invested hundreds of thousands of Euros into risky real estate shares.The Catholic diocese of Linz spent 400,000 Euros of donations in a long-term real estate stock market deal in 2005, magazine profil reveals in its new edition. The money was generated by the Church’s traditional Dreikönigsaktion Sternsinger carol singers initiative in the province of Upper Austria.The magazine revealed that the shares dramatically suffered in value in 2009 when the global economic downturn had its effects on stock markets all over the world.Dreikönigsaktion head Erwin Eder confirmed the claims. Eder said the losses were “regrettable”, but stressed that the value of the Conwert Immobilien Invest AG shares recovered again in the meantime.”You can always do better in hindsight. We will invest our revenues better in the future,” he told profil, pointing out that 95 per cent of donations were stashed in saving books and similarly safe investments.The Dreikönigsaktion director claimed the organisation was forced to “make provisions” to finance projects which are usually created over a period of three years.Eder explained the Dreikönigsaktion’s investment adviser recommended opting for real estate shares. The counsellor, who Eder refused to identify, said the move would just incurr an “average risk”.The Catholic Jungschar youth organisation’s Dreikönigsaktion began in 1954. It has raised more than 300 million Euros for people in poor countries worldwide over the years. The charity was awarded the Austrian Donations Seal of Approval (Spendengütesiegel), which distinguishes trustworthy charities and non-profit organisations 10 years ago.Young volunteers dressed up as the Three Kings go from door to door between New Year’s Day and Epiphany (6 January) to sing songs, recite poems and ask for donations. It generated 14.48 million Euros last year. This year’s overall earnings, which will be used to finance projects in Guatemala, have not yet been announced.