DALLAS — Speaking from an Old Testament passage, Joshua 3:4–5, GuideStone Financial Resources President O.S. Hawkins told trustees, "We are challenging our employees to see 2014 as a 'Year of Transition' as we seize opportunities to enhance the financial security of our participants."
GuideStone's trustees met in regular session March 3–4 in Dallas.
Trustees also heard a report from Chief Operating Officer John R. Jones, and from executive officers John Raymond and Ron Dugan. Jones was honored for his 25 years of service to GuideStone.
In remarks to the trustees, Hawkins emphasized Joshua 3:4, a focal verse in this Year of Transition, which reads "...you have not passed this way before" (NKJV).
GuideStone "is going places in 2014 that we have never been before as we expand our ministry assignment by making our funds available to members of Southern Baptist and other evangelical churches," Hawkins said.
Jones updated trustees on the program areas of GuideStone (investments, retirement, financial assistance and developmental initiatives).
"Last year, GuideStone's theme was the Year of Performance, and perform GuideStone did," Jones told trustees. "Total GuideStone assets ended the year at an all-time peak of $12.6 billion."
Jones noted in a recap of GuideStone’s investment funds’ performance for 2013 that GuideStone's Value Equity, Growth Equity and Small Cap Equity Funds exceeded the S&P 500 with one-year returns of 35.22%, 34.47% and 38.01% respectively for the GS4 share class. Jones said that, while such high returns are not to be expected, they certainly were welcomed. GuideStone's Fixed Income and Specialty Funds also performed well in relation to peers.
According to Lipper Rankings, over the last decade, 10 of 14 GuideStone Funds performed above median. (Please keep in mind that past performance does not guarantee future results.)
"In addition, GuideStone Funds ranked 38th out of 225 mutual fund families in the most recent Fund Family Fiduciary Rankings prepared by fi360," Jones said. "GuideStone Funds have ranked in the top 20% of all fund families in the fi360 universe for 12 consecutive quarters ending December, 31, 2013," he said. This report ranks mutual fund families based upon the percentage of their individual funds that pass fi360's due diligence screens. These screens include the fund's track record, assets, management tenure, style consistency, expense ratio, risk adjusted performance and performance relative to their peer group among other criteria.
Jones reported that contributions to GuideStone’s retirement plans were up 9.4% from 2012.
"GuideStone is not only growing through its expanded ministry opportunities but also through its SBC base," Jones told the assembled trustees. "Indeed, the net number of active retirement plan participants has increased almost 6% over the last four years. And, the average account balance of a GuideStone retirement participant increased a cumulative 46% from 2007 to 2013."
Property & Casualty
GuideStone's Property & Casualty Program had its greatest year ever in 2013, building on the strong relationship GuideStone has with Brotherhood Mutual. "In 2013, GuideStone was able to close 63% of new business and to renew 100% of its existing business, resulting in $5.1 million in bound premium," Jones said.
He observed "The success in the number of churches and ministries covered and in the total dollar amount of insurance in force bear witness to the strength of that relationship." In 2013, agents with GuideStone Agency Services were named Agent of the Year and Rookie of the Year for Brotherhood Mutual. Jones attributed the surge of success in the P&C program "to the Lord in bringing GuideStone and Brotherhood Mutual together some 21 months ago."
Many retired Southern Baptist ministers and widows face uncertainties as to how they will pay their basic obligations, if they'll get their medicines or how they will eat. Retirement can be a traumatic time for these dear servants of Christ. During this past year, Southern Baptists have continued to be Christ’s hands extended to provide financial assistance for those who need it most. Nearly 1,800 new donors made their first gift to Mission:Dignity during 2013, Jones said.
"With 2,338 churches participating in Mission Dignity this past year, that was the highest level of church participation in the history of the program," Jones said.
The Mission:Dignity program provides financial assistance to almost 2,000 retired ministers or their widows in crucial financial need.
Information concerning Mission:Dignity may be requested by calling GuideStone at 1-888-98-GUIDE (1-888-984-8433) or by visiting www.MissionDignitySBC.org.
GuideStone products available to new investors
Trustees also heard a report from Jones and executive officers John Raymond and Ron Dugan on expanded access to GuideStone Funds.
"This initiative is the capstone of our long-range strategic plan, GuideStone 100, and is designed to enhance our economies of scale across all GuideStone entities to better enable us to continue to try and enhance the financial security of the pastor at the crossroads," Raymond reported. "The timing of this initiative is perfect because of the recent national recognitions received by GuideStone Funds and the positive peer ranking that have generated interest in GuideStone from many sectors."
Dugan observed that this initiative "will not impede upon GuideStone's principle purpose of maintaining church plans and benefit solutions, and that our core focus as a church-benefits board will remain firmly intact."
Trustees accepted the recommendation of their general officers nominating committee and elected Michael S. Hamlet (South Carolina) as chairman and John R. Morris (North Carolina) as vice-chairman.
At the Monday evening dinner meeting, trustees recognized Chief Operating Officer John R. Jones for the 25th anniversary of his employment with GuideStone. In addition, two trustees were honored as they reached the end of their terms of service. Those receiving recognition were J. Timothy Wilkes (Alabama), and Roger D. Phillips (New York).
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 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
The performance data quoted represents past performance and does not guarantee future results. Current performance may be lower or higher. Performance data current to the most recent month-end may be obtained at www.GuideStoneFunds.com. The investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Returns exceeding 20% reflect unusual market conditions and may not be sustained at this level over the long term.
Net Expense Ratio reflects fee waivers and expense reimbursements by the investment advisor. These waivers and reimbursement agreements, if not extended, will end on April 30, 2014.
As of December 31, 2013, the GuideStone Funds Value Equity Fund had a return of 35.22% for the one-year period, 17.04% for the five-year period and 7.39% for the ten-year period with a gross expense ratio of 0.92% and a net expense ratio of 0.91%. The GuideStone Funds Growth Equity Fund had a return of 34.47% for the one-year period, 20.63% for the five-year period and 7.32% for the ten-year period with a gross expense ratio of 1.14% and a net expense ratio of 1.07%. The GuideStone Funds Small Cap Equity Fund had a return of 38.01% for the one-year period, 21.27% for the five-year period and 8.50% for the ten-year period with a gross expense ratio of 1.28% and a net expense ratio of 1.20%.
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 December 31, 2013, in the GS4 share class, 10 out of 14 funds exceeded the median for the ten-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.