NEW YORK — During their recent summer meeting, trustees received updates on GuideStone’s investments, retirement, insurance, property and casualty, and financial assistance programs from President O.S. Hawkins, and Chief Operating Officer John R. Jones. Chief Business and Marketing Officer John T. Raymond, also reported on the expansion of GuideStone’s mutual fund eligibility.
Trustees met in regular session July 28-29 in New York.
Investments and Retirement Contributions
Total organizational assets continued to climb, rising to $13.1 billion by the end of June 2014, almost doubling the trough in organizational assets of $6.8 billion experienced in February 2009 at the bottom of the 2008–2009 economic downturn.
“For 2013, we didn’t think we could be more blessed with the results in the way that God’s hand just continued to be on GuideStone,” Jones said. “We shake our heads and continue to say that here going into the latter half of 2014. We give thanks to the Lord.”
“Over the course of the last five-plus years, we’ve seen an increase of 91% in the total assets base of GuideStone Financial Resources,” Jones said. While saying the return is unprecedented and unsustainable in the long term, it has been to the benefit of GuideStone’s participants. “Thankfully, for the benefit of our participants, our being focused on enhancing their financial security, their participant account balances are at an all-time high.”
Even as assets have performed well, GuideStone Funds continue to receive recognitions from national ranking firms. For the 14th consecutive quarter, dating back to the first quarter of 2011, GuideStone Funds has ranked in the top 20% of all fund families in the fi360 universe. Additionally, in the 10-year periods, Lipper ranks 10 of 14 GuideStone Funds as performing above the median. Morningstar rates 18 of 20 GuideStone Funds as three star or better in the Overall category. (Keep in mind that past performance does not guarantee future results.)
“Not only has it been a wonderful environment for investors just because of how well the financial markets have done but also GuideStone Capital Management has shown their ability to add value, additional returns, to enhance the financial security for the benefit of our participants,” Jones said.
Turning to medical plans participation, GuideStone experienced a 1.3% increase in enrollment over 2013.
Additionally, trustees learned that the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has set the oral argument in the government’s appeal of the preliminary injunction in the GuideStone litigation against the abortifacient mandate. A three-judge panel will hear the appeal at 9 a.m. Monday, September 29 in Denver.
Property & Casualty
GuideStone’s alliance with Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company continues to prove very beneficial for GuideStone and the churches it’s able to serve, Jones said. GuideStone serves as Brotherhood Mutual’s agent in Alabama and Texas and has an endorsed relationship in other states where Brotherhood Mutual does business.
Written premiums grew by 42.8% in 2014, while total accounts grew by 24%.
“About 75% of the number of accounts reflects renewals,” Jones said. “These are relationships that are beginning to enter their second if not third year. Fortunately, we have a 99.5% renewal rate. This underscores the strength of the partnership we have with Brotherhood Mutual.”
Gifts for Mission:Dignity, the GuideStone ministry that provides financial assistance for retired Southern Baptist ministers and their widows, grew by 5% between 2013 and 2014. Mission:Dignity receives contributions from individuals, churches and Sunday school classes; it receives no Cooperative Program gifts.
“We are expecting the best year that we have had in recent years,” Jones said. “We are very encouraged by the fact that there were 5,800 churches across the Southern Baptist Convention that on Sunday, June 22 got bulletin inserts that trumpeted and made greater awareness of Mission:Dignity.”
To that end, the Relief Committee, a trustee sub-group that provides oversight and guidance to Mission:Dignity, approved changes to the eligibility guidelines and increased support payments. Under the new rules that take effect in October, eligible couples with at least 10 years of paid SBC service will see their monthly assistance rise to $300. The neediest couples, with at least 25 years of paid ministerial service, will see their monthly assistance rise to $600.
Additionally, Hawkins presented information to trustees about his latest book, The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer, that became available through online and brick-and-mortar bookstores during the trustee meeting. All author’s royalties and proceeds from that book, like those of Hawkins’ previous volume, The Joshua Code: 52 Scripture Verses Every Believer Should Know, benefit Mission:Dignity. The Joshua Code, which debuted in 2012, has more than 250,000 copies in print.
For more information on Mission:Dignity, visit www.MissionDignitySBC.org.
GuideStone Mutual Fund Expansion
Trustees also heard a report from Chief Business and Marketing Officer John T. Raymond, who discussed the expansion of GuideStone’s mutual fund eligibility.
The capstone of GuideStone’s long-range plan, GuideStone 100, the ability to make GuideStone Funds available to Southern Baptist and other evangelical church members, was approved by messengers at the 2013 Southern Baptist Convention in Houston. In May 2014, GuideStone Funds officially became available to this expanded audience.
Some 222 new accounts, totaling $6.5 million in new assets, have been opened since May 1, at least half of which are a result of the expansion of GuideStone Funds’ new eligibility rules, Raymond said.
Raymond also reported to trustees the various branding and public relations activities that are planned through the rest of 2014 and 2015 to make eligible investors aware of the new opportunity.
“At the end of the day, there are three things we want people to be aware of when they hear about GuideStone Funds,” Raymond said. “First, GuideStone Funds is the largest Christian-screened mutual fund family in the entire world. Secondly, we’ve been around since 1918 and we have had great performance indicators. Lastly, we’re a no-load fund; we have low expense ratios. It’s a very compelling story.”
Trustees also welcomed new board members David Puckett of Alabama and Renée Trewick of New York.
In closing remarks, Hawkins reminded trustees of the vision statement of GuideStone and how it guides every decision the organization seeks to make.
“Every decision we make, whether staff, executive or trustee, must fit in the context of our Vision Statement that reminds us that ‘we exist to honor the Lord by being a lifelong partner with our participants in enhancing their financial security,’” Hawkins said.
Trustees will meet again in February in Dallas.
You should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the GuideStone Funds before investing. A prospectus with this and other information about the Funds may be obtained by calling 1-888-98-GUIDE (1-888-984-8433) or by downloading one at www.GuideStone.org. It should be read carefully before investing.
GuideStone Funds and retail investment products are made available through GuideStone Financial Services, member FINRA.
Lipper Inc., a Reuters Company, is a nationally recognized organization that compares the performance of mutual funds having similar investment objectives. The comparison is made across registered mutual funds, ranking the funds with similar objectives according to total returns. These investment returns are calculated after operating expenses have been deducted from each fund, but the rankings do not take sales charges into account. Lipper rankings are subject to change monthly, and past rankings are no guarantee of future results. As of June 30, 2014, in the GS4 share class, 10 out of 14 funds exceeded the median for the 10-year period, 15 out of 20 exceeded the median for the five-year period, and 11 out of 23 exceeded the median for the one-year period.
The fi360 Fiduciary Score® is a peer percentile ranking of an investment against a set of quantitative due diligence criteria selected to reflect prudent fiduciary management. The criteria include total returns, risk-adjusted returns, expenses and other portfolio statistics. Investments are ranked according to their ability to meet due diligence criteria every calendar quarter. The rank becomes the fi360 Fiduciary Score (Quarter). The fi360 Fiduciary Score represents a suggested course of action and is not intended, nor should it be used, as the sole source of information for reaching an investment decision. Visit fi360.com/fi360-Fiduciary-Score for the complete methodology document. As of June 30, 2014, GuideStone Funds ranked 41 out of 237 funds.
Morningstar, Inc., is a leading provider of independent investment research in the United States and in major international markets. Morningstar is a trusted source for insightful information on stocks, mutual funds, variable annuities, closed-end funds, exchange-traded funds, separate accounts, hedge funds and 529 college savings plans. With operations in 16 countries, Morningstar currently provides data on more than 125,000 investment offerings worldwide
For each fund with at least a three-year history, Morningstar calculates a Morningstar Rating based on a Morningstar risk-adjusted return measure that accounts for variation in a fund’s monthly performance (including the effects of sales charges, loads and redemption fees), placing more emphasis on downward variations and rewarding consistent performance. The top 10% of funds in each category receive five stars, the next 22.5% receive four stars, the next 35% receive three stars, the next 22.5% receive two stars, and the bottom 10% receive one star. (Each share class is counted as a fraction of one fund within this scale and rated separately, which may cause slight variations in the distribution percentages.) [Note: Additional information is required when quoting an overall rating.] As of June 30, 2014, in the Investor share class, 18 out of 20 GuideStone Funds were ranked three stars or better overall.