DALLAS — Drawing from Joshua 6:1–20, which tells of the Israelites’ conquest of Jericho, GuideStone Financial Resources President O.S. Hawkins told trustees, “We are challenging our employees to see 2015 as a ‘Year of Efficiency’ as we look for ways to do what we do efficiently and with excellence.”
GuideStone trustees met March 2–3 in Dallas.
Trustees also heard reports from Chief Operating Officer John R. Jones and from the executive officers of GuideStone.
“We wrapped up a phenomenal year in 2014,” Jones told trustees. “Total GuideStone assets ended the year at another all-time peak of $13 billion.”
Jones said that 2014 was a challenging year for actively managed investments, like those offered by GuideStone Funds, but ratings agencies continued to give GuideStone high marks. Ratings firm fi360 ranked GuideStone Funds 46 of 241 mutual fund families, putting it in the top 20% of all mutual fund companies for the 16th straight quarter — four consecutive years. By comparison, only six other mutual fund companies have been able to achieve that level of recognition.
Additionally, Jones reminded trustees that 2014 marked the third year that GuideStone was honored by the Lipper Fund Awards. GuideStone Funds was honored in 2012, ranked No. 1 out of 182 fund families with assets up to $40 billion as the Best Overall Small Fund Group in the U.S., for its performance over the three-year period ending November 30, 2011. In 2013, the MyDestination 2025 Fund was ranked No. 1 out of 92 similar funds for its performance over the three-year period ending November 30, 2012. In 2014, the Extended-Duration Bond Fund was ranked No. 1 out of more than 50 eligible funds as it was honored as the Best Fund Over 3 Years and the Best Fund Over 5 Years in the Corporate Debt A-Rated Funds category for its performance ending November 30, 2013.
Moving to GuideStone’s retirement business, Jones indicated that retirement contributions were up 10.7% from 2013.
“The expanded ministry opportunity set continues to fuel the majority of our growth,” Jones said, “but we continue to see significant growth in our Southern Baptist business, as well.”
Total participation in the retirement plan was up 3.5% from 2013.
Property and Casualty
GuideStone Property and Casualty ended with new bound premium of $3.9 million and $11.4 million in renewal business. GuideStone renewed almost 100% of its existing business and had a close rate of 47% of new business.
“The close rate reflects a much higher close rate or win ratio than the industry as a whole, which is around 25%,” Jones said. “It is indicative that the market has gotten much more competitive in Texas and Alabama, where we have our agencies for Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company.”
Calling 2014 a banner year for Mission:Dignity, Jones reported almost 1,800 new donors. Gifts grew by almost 15%. In December, more than a million dollars was given for the first time to the ministry that provides financial assistance to retired pastors and their widows. The ministry is provided through gifts of individuals, Sunday school classes, churches and, increasingly, through estate gifts, Jones said. No Cooperative Program funding is used for Mission:Dignity.
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.
Trustees next meet again in July in Nashville.