DALLAS (BP)–Funds Trust marked its third year as a registered mutual fund family on Aug. 27. Sponsored by GuideStone Financial Resources (formerly the Annuity Board) of the Southern Baptist Convention, the fund’s assets were $7.5 billion on June 30 of this year.
The mutual fund family offers investors access to four asset allocation funds (Blended Funds), four fixed-income funds and five equity funds for an array of investment options as well as access to global financial markets.
Roddy Cummins, AB Funds Trust vice president and investment officer, noted that a distinctive feature of the mutual funds family is a “manager-of-managers” approach, providing “access to multiple proven investment management firms within a singe fund and also offers our investors further diversification through multiple styles and strategies.”
In addition, the fund managers employ Christian-based social screens and do not invest in any company that is publicly recognized as providing products or services in liquor, tobacco, gambling, pornography or abortion.
“AB Funds Trust has a competitive advantage for two specific reasons,” said Greg Weaver, president of gregory.w.group, an investment consulting firm. “The first aspect is the Christian-based screened funds which is very important to many individual investors and institutions.
“The second is the ability of GuideStone’s internal investment staff to hire world-class investment managers which in turn gives their participants access to some of the industry’s best investment management talent along with a very competitive fee structure,” Weaver said.
“AB Funds Trust is clearly one of the largest affinity structures in the asset management world,” said Geoff Bobroff, a mutual fund industry consultant. “The Christian-based screening and manager-of-managers approach is a significant product combination.”
Bobroff also noted the timing of the launch three years ago: “Simultaneous with the August 2001 introduction was a slumping stock market followed by the tragic events of Sept. 11th. These funds not only survived but weathered the circumstances quite well.”
Beginning with the first full quarter of operation in 2001 through June 30, 2004, AB Funds Trust funds have performed well in comparison to other mutual funds in their respective peer group as measured by Lipper, Inc. This is “evidence of the benefits of the investment philosophy,” Cummins said.
“Our approach to constructing investment options through the use of external investment management firms centers on identifying and implementing superior investment strategies executed by world-class investment talent. This unique approach to investment management gives AB Funds Trust a strong competitive advantage in the marketplace,” Cummins said.
In 2001, eligible AB Funds Trust investors included only Southern Baptist ministers and employees of Southern Baptist entities and institutions such as universities, seminaries, hospitals and retirement homes. Today, the market has been expanded to include evangelical churches and ministries that are not Southern Baptist.
Before investing, individuals should carefully read the prospectus and consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the funds. A prospectus with this and other information about AB Funds Trust may be obtained by calling 1-800-262-0511 or by visiting www.GuideStone.org.
Shares of AB Funds Trust are distributed by PFPC Distributors, Inc., 760 Moore Road, King of Prussia, PA 19406.