DALLAS (BP)–GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention reached an all-time high of $8.3 billion in assets at the close of 2004 — 12.05 percent increase over the 2003 closing numbers of $7.3 billion.
“We are pleased to surpass the $8 billion mark again and it speaks well of our investment philosophy and the performance of the equity markets the past year,” said GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins. “But more importantly, this growth reflects a significant increase in many participants’ accounts and hopefully offers a higher level of financial security for them in their retirement years.”
In addition, the 13 AB Funds Trust mutual funds available to Southern Baptist participants turned in a positive performance for 2004 as well as continuing to post positive returns since their inception on Aug. 27, 2001.
Rodric E. Cummins, GuideStone’s executive officer for investments, noted, “Despite the significant losses in the stock market in 2001 and 2002, our investment approach and the disciplines of our philosophy have not changed. The steady hand of experience from our investment team has resulted in our being properly positioned to capture the strong rebound over the past two years. We are pleased with the results of our investment program and our ability to capitalize on the opportunities for our participants.”
In addition to the increase in assets, Lipper Inc., a nationally recognized Reuters company that compares the performance of mutual funds having similar investment objectives, reported that 11 out of 13 AB Funds Trust mutual funds (85 percent) met or exceeded the median for one- and three-year periods in their respective peer universes as of Dec. 31, 2004. Eight of the funds were in the top quartile for the one-year period and seven of the funds were in the top quartile for the three-year period. Lipper rankings are based on total return.
“We believe these recent achievements reflect well on the quality of investment management services available through AB Funds Trust and the overall value proposition offered to our investors,” Cummins said.
Curtis D. Sharp is executive officer for denominational and public relations services for GuideStone Financial Resources. While a second vote of the Southern Baptist Convention in June of 2005 is required to officially change the name of the Annuity Board, the convention has authorized use of the new name during the interim period.