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GROWTH AMID TUMULT: GuideStone Funds, at 10-yr. point, rivals competitors

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
DALLAS (BP) -- GuideStone Funds, launched just 15 days before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has prospered through a turbulent decade that included two recessions and a national financial crisis.

The nation's largest Christian-based, socially screened registered mutual fund company, GuideStone Funds was launched as AB Funds Trust on Aug. 27, 2001, when GuideStone was still known officially as the Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

A decade ago, GuideStone Funds offered 13 options; today, that number has doubled.

Throughout GuideStone Funds' first 10 years, third-party ranking firms such as fi360, Lipper and Morningstar have ranked the funds as rivaling competitors. For the quarter ending June 30 of this year, fi360 ranked the GuideStone Funds family second out of 222 fund families nationwide.

"The historic launch of GuideStone Funds paved the way to providing our participants with more flexibility and confidence in their portfolios through industry-standard product offerings," John Jones, president of GuideStone Funds and chief operating officer of GuideStone Financial Resources, said in conjunction with a 10th anniversary celebration by employees at GuideStone's offices in Dallas on Aug. 29.

"It heightened the level of service we provide our participants, as many of our employees have more advanced training, securities licenses and professional designations," Jones noted. The launch of the registered mutual fund family also provided enhanced disclosures and transparency for GuideStone's participants -- today numbering more than 200,000 across all GuideStone product lines -- to understand their investment choices.


"It also opened the door to expanded savings opportunities with IRAs and personal investment options as well as institutional investment opportunities for operating, building reserves and endowment assets," Jones said.

"The GuideStone Funds are built on the investment philosophy developed by the funds adviser, GuideStone Capital Management," Jones said. "The multi-manager, multi-style investment approach allows GuideStone Capital Management access to what they believe to be some of the best investment minds in the world."

"Our investment structure is built for the long-term," said Rodric E. Cummins, senior vice president and chief investment officer of GuideStone Capital Management. "It is designed to provide thoughtful, high-quality, strategic investment options to our participants and is executed by world-class investment management firms."

In addition to the fi360 standings, Lipper noted 15 of 21 GuideStone funds performed above the median for the one-year period ending July 31 of this year; 19 of 20 funds performed above the median in the three-year period; and 11 of 14 funds performed above the median for the five-year period. Morningstar has ranked 17 of 19 funds GuideStone funds as either four- or three-star overall in the three-year period and 12 of 12 funds in the five-year period.

Noting the fund family's track record, Cummins said the first decade for GuideStone Funds has been a story of sustainability through turmoil.


"Over the past 10 years we've been able to do more than stand strong," Cummins said. "We've been able to expand our fund offerings for the benefit of our participants, implementing investment philosophies that we believe serve them best without forgoing our convictions.

"In short, GuideStone Funds holds to the exact same tenets today that we held to 10 years ago, and those will be the same tenets we hold to 10 or even 100 years from now," Cummins said. "In addition, as the GuideStone Funds rankings demonstrate, we believe we have dispelled the myth that if you want your money to grow, you have to invest in things you might wish you didn't have to.

"While past performance is no guarantee of future results, our participants can see for themselves by looking at our results and recognizing that performance and values-based investing do not have to be mutually exclusive," Cummins said. "They can walk hand-in-hand."

Roy Hayhurst is editorial services manager for GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press


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