LONDON, MARCH 26.
The most conservative estimates had established the Pope as far and
away the world's largest shareholder, the "Economist" reported to-day.
In a survey of the Vatican's wealth, the Rome correspondent of the
"Economist" said it, had a portfolio of quoted securities the world over
totalling at least £2,000,000,000.
Of this about one-tenth was held in Italy.
The Vatican was therefore an international financial power of formidable
Its reliable assets were roughly equal to the official gold and foreign
exchange reserves of France.
By comparison the portfolio of England's Church Commissioners was a mere
Even the dollar securities held by the British Government, valued at
something over 1,000,000,000 dollars, were only about one-fifth of the Vatican's
"little nest-egg" of marketable stock.
As investment portfolios went, the stock was exceeded only by the largest
American mutual life insurance companies, he said.
"And while this estimate is very rough indeed, based on upward
extrapolation, it is also conservative," said the correspondent.
"It takes no account of the Vatican's additional and incalculable
wealth, from land and real estate all over the world to what is equally certainly the
world's most valuable art collection."