August 27, 2001, feels like a world away. The date September 11 was not yet indelibly marked on our minds. President George W. Bush had only been president for a short eight months. GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins was coming up on his fourth anniversary as president of what was then known as the Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
It was also the launch of a new era in GuideStone’s history — the launch of GuideStone Funds, the nation’s largest faith-based mutual fund family, serving over 250,000 individuals and 38,000 organizations.
“It had been a dream for many years that we would be able to launch mutual funds, to help pastors prepare for retirement, but also to capture other assets to help them prepare for their future while living out their values through their investments,” GuideStone Chief Operating Officer John R. Jones said. “You cannot overstate the impact on GuideStone to move from unregulated investments to a regulated environment.”
Until 2001, participants in GuideStone’s retirement plans could invest in one of four commingled funds. After the Funds launched, investors and their spouses could contribute to IRAs or invest for non-retirement needs.
It also paved the way to GuideStone’s ability to serve the investment needs of like-minded evangelical institutions, and the name change to GuideStone, in 2004–05 and ultimately the ministry’s ability to provide investment services to those in the pew, not just the pulpit, in 2014.
“Since the Funds’ inception, we have sought to manage GuideStone Funds in a manner that reflects both the values of Southern Baptists as well as the church and ministry partners we represent,” GuideStone Chief Investment Officer David S. Spika said. “Through our efforts, we believe we are doing exactly that.”
Like most endeavors, the launch of GuideStone Funds started with a vision — in this case, to better serve GuideStone’s participants.
“When John Jones and I sat down, he told me that his dream was to launch registered mutual funds, the ultimate platform for retirement, personal and institutional investing,” GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said. “It would require a great deal of adaptation, requiring many changes to GuideStone’s operations but no change to who we are as a ministry. Looking back with the benefit of two decades of hindsight, we can say it was undoubtedly the right decision at the right time.”
Twice in its first 20 years, GuideStone Funds was honored — in 2012 and 2019 — by the Lipper Fund Awards as the top small fund mutual fund family in the country. Professional management, competitive performance and investments that align with biblical values make the Funds a strong choice for pastors, church and other ministry workers, as well as a growing number of individual and institutional investors drawn to the faith-based screening of the Funds.
In the last two decades, new Funds were launched, including a global real estate fund, a global bond fund, the Defensive Market Strategies Fund, the Strategic Alternatives Fund and the MyDestination Funds, a target-date fund series. The success of GuideStone Funds eventually allowed the organization to launch the Global Impact Fund in 2021.
“We wanted to demonstrate absolute excellence in the Funds at every step of our journey,” Jones said. “We as an organization seek to honor the Lord. As an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, it was imperative we approach everything we do with excellence. And recognizing that for our participants and the professional investing world, there would be no Christian discount on our performance standards or goals.”
As GuideStone Financial Resources goes through a transition, culminating with Hawkins passing the leadership reigns to Hance Dilbeck in the first quarter of 2022, the commitment to excellence in the Funds remains high.
“I was humbled and honored to join GuideStone at this pivotal time in its history,” Dilbeck said. “The 20th anniversary of GuideStone Funds is just one tangible example of GuideStone’s ongoing commitment to best-in-class performance for the benefit of those we serve. I’m excited to be part of this important work and look forward to participating in the continued advancement of our business and mission.”
Dilbeck said the success of the Funds is testimony to the Lord’s favor on the ministry.
“This 20th anniversary is not a finish line,” he said. We are continuing to serve and advocate on behalf of our participants and investors, developing new products and new services, preparing to serve our investors today and tomorrow for as long as they need us.”
Roy Hayhurst is the director of denominational and public relations at GuideStone.
Mutual fund investing involves risk, including the possible loss of money.
There can be no guarantee that any strategy (risk management or otherwise) will be successful. All investing involves risk, including potential loss of principal. Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against loss.
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 1-844-GS-FUNDS (1-844-473-8637) or downloading one at GuideStoneFunds.com/Funds. It should be read carefully before investing.
The U.S. Lipper Fund Award for Best Overall Small Fund Family is based on a review of 29 fund families for 2019 and based on risk-adjusted performance for the three-year period ended November 30, 2018.
In order to qualify for Lipper’s Overall Small Fund Family Group Award, a fund family will need to have at least three distinct portfolios in each of the following asset classes: equity, bond and mixed-asset. An overall Group Award will be given to the fund family with the lowest average decile ranking of its respective asset class results based on the three-year Consistent Return measure of the eligible funds per asset class and group. The Lipper Leader for Consistent Return rating, which is a risk-adjusted performance measure, is calculated over 36, 60 and 120 months. The fund with the highest Lipper Leader for Consistent Return (Effective Return) value in each eligible classification wins the Lipper Fund Award. The Lipper Fund Awards, granted annually, highlight funds and fund companies that have excelled in delivering consistently strong risk-adjusted performance relative to their peers. Additional information is available at LipperFundAwards.com.
Group Award Methodology: For the 2019 Lipper Fund Awards from Refinitiv, a small fund family is defined as having assets of $76.8 billion or less.
Lipper Fund Awards from Refinitiv, ©2019 Refinitiv. All rights reserved.
Impact Investing: The Fund’s impact investing criteria could cause it to perform differently compared to funds that do not apply such criteria. Successful application of the Fund’s impact investing strategy will depend upon the Adviser’s and each sub-adviser’s skill in properly identifying and analyzing impact investing issues. Investments made may not generate the amount of positive impact that was intended when the investment was made.