Since its 2001 inception, GuideStone Funds has limited participation to pastors, missionaries and employees of Southern Baptist and evangelical churches and ministries, as well as their immediate family members. The Southern Baptist Convention's 2013 amendment of GuideStone's ministry statement to allow the entity to offer its investments, insurance and services to like-minded individuals helped make the change possible.
GuideStone described the change, which went into effect May 5, as an important next step in supporting the company's long-term growth and fulfilling its mission.
"So often, people wonder whether they have to choose the performance they hope to achieve for their investments or the values they strive to live out today," Rodric E. Cummins, senior vice president and chief investment officer of GuideStone Capital Management, said. "We believe that the many industry recognitions GuideStone Funds has received help give evidence that investors don't have to compromise their values to obtain industry-leading performance."
Ron Dugan, chief strategic investment officer for GuideStone, said, "We believe that the time is right to make these funds available to a wider Christian audience.
"Having successfully weathered financial storms after September 2001, as well as the economic downturn of 2008-2009, we believe our funds are battle-tested and offer a good approach for values-based investors who want to invest in accordance with their values.
"Our commitment to our investors, whether they are the pastors we were founded to serve over nine decades ago, church members or financial advisors, is the same: to help them achieve their long-term goals," Dugan said. "On each desk at GuideStone is a little sign that reminds us of our guiding vision as we seek to be a lifelong partner in enhancing the financial security of our participants. We will not waver from that as we seek to work each day with integrity and skill on behalf of our investors."
GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins echoed those sentiments.
"Each expansion GuideStone has undertaken helps provide additional economies of scale, allowing us to continue to provide quality services at competitive prices to our pastors and all participants," Hawkins said. "Our core commitment -- part of the very fabric of GuideStone Financial Resources -- is to those SBC pastors at the crossroads. Every time we consider an opportunity to grow, our first and foremost question remains whether we are able to do so while honoring the Lord in being those pastors' lifelong partner in enhancing their financial security. We are convinced this step enhances our ability to partner with those participants."
GuideStone Funds is a controlled-affiliate of GuideStone Financial Resources, a 96-year-old entity of the Southern Baptist Convention. Originally founded as a relief organization, GuideStone has transitioned into providing employer-sponsored retirement plans, life and health products and property and casualty coverage. In the mutual funds group, GuideStone launched the first Christian-based target-date fund lineup in 2006.
GuideStone enjoys award-winning success. Five of its 11 Select Funds, as of March 31, have 4- or 5-star Morningstar ratings. In 2012, Lipper named GuideStone Funds its Best Overall Small Fund Group in the U.S. -- the first Christian-screened fund family of its kind to receive this award. Lipper recognized performance over the three-year period ending November 30, 2011, and ranked GuideStone No. 1 out of 182 eligible fund families with up to $40 billion in assets.
In 2013, GuideStone's MyDestination 2025 Fund was ranked No. 1 out of 92 similar funds for its performance over the three-year period ending Nov. 30, 2012. Lipper honored GuideStone's Extended-Duration Bond Fund as the Best Fund Over 3 Years and the Best Fund Over 5 Years in the Corporate Debt A-Rated Funds category, for period ending Nov. 30, 2013. In each category, the Extended-Duration Bond Fund beat out more than 50 eligible funds.
For more information about GuideStone Funds or to obtain a prospectus with important information on the funds, please call 1-888-GS-FUNDS (1-888-473-8637) or visit www.GuideStoneFunds.com.
Roy Hayhurst is senior manager of editorial services at GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Baptist Press reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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