Charity measures health of economy in centimeters

A charity foundation funded by the profits of The Children's Investment Fund Management (UK) LLP, a London-based hedge fund, is applying a different type of economic measure to the global economy — that of centimeters of growth as a child.

The $3.9 billion Children's Investment Fund Foundation, also based in London, earlier this month pledged $787 million to help eradicate global undernutrition. In a speech at the Nutrition for Growth summit in London to announce the donation, CIFF CEO Jamie Cooper-Hohn said “a mere three to five centimeters of growth as a child can translate into 20% to 45% increases in wages, more than a quarter greater chance of a skilled job and a third less likelihood that he or she will live in poverty as an adult.”

“We segment the paths to economic development under the traditional categories of agricultural productivity, power and road infrastructure,” said Ms. Cooper-Hohn, who is the wife of TCI's hedge fund manager Chris Hohn and co-founder of the foundation. “Yet, economic experts tell us that investments to prevent stunting, the irreversible condition that prevents proper growth and brain development, are among the most cost-effective, sustainable approaches to economic growth.”

The donation will go toward things like providing nutritional supplements and promoting good hygiene.

TCI doesn't publish its assets under management, but sources familiar with the company have estimated AUM is about $5.5 billion.

This article originally appeared in the June 24, 2013 print issue as, "Charity measures health of economy in centimeters".