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Where does the Vatican store its gold? Financial report reveals all

By on Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The main depository for the Vatican's gold is the US Federal Reserve (PA)

The main depository for the Vatican's gold is the US Federal Reserve (PA)

One week after publishing highlights of its 2013 financial statement, the Institute for the Works of Religion — commonly called the Vatican bank — has released a 107-page, detailed financial report for the year.

The first statement, released on July 8, said the institute’s net profit for 2013 was only €2.9 million ($3.9 million) compared to 2012 net profits of €86.6 million ($117.7 million).

The detailed report released today and published on the institute’s website is packed with charts, tables and explanations of the institute’s focus, its investment policies, the division of its assets and detailed information about its expenses, including contributions to employee pensions.

It also contains some curiosities:

– The main depository for the Vatican’s gold is the US Federal Reserve, while medals and precious coins (valued at close to €9.9 million) are kept in IOR vaults. A “significant decline” in the price of gold meant that the value of the Vatican’s gold fell to €20 million in 2013 from almost €28.3 million in 2012.

– The bank’s officers have almost €3.2 million in four funds set up for charitable purposes, including one to support religious orders in missionary work. Only the “Fund for Holy Masses” reported distributing money in 2013; it gave out €59,000.

– The institute is the sole owner of an Italian-registered company, SGIR, which has €21.7 million in equity. The report describes SGIR as a property company.

– The report said the institute’s operating expenses included a “provision of €1 million payable to the owner of the building in which the IOR conducts business.” The bank is based in the 15th-century Tower of Nicholas V on the eastern edge of the Apostolic Palace.

– The bank has €250.7 million invested in external funds; 99 percent of the money is invested in funds that have their legal headquarters in Europe, while the remaining one percent is based in the United States.

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