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GuideStone’s assets reach new high at end of 2005

DALLAS (BP)–As the financial books closed on Dec. 31, GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention attained a new all-time high in total organizational assets of $8.9 billion.

The increase in assets was due to significant growth in retail and institutional investments, retirement rollovers, increased contributions from participants and the investment growth in assets. GuideStone assets closed at $8.3 billion in 2004 and at $7.3 billion in 2003.

“2005 was an exciting and challenging year for our organization, and we are pleased to end the year on a financial high note,” GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said. “We believe our continued growth is a reflection of our investment philosophy and the performance of the financial markets, but our foremost goal is to add value to our participants’ accounts and hopefully a higher level of financial security in their retirement years.”

The 13 GuideStone Funds available to Southern Baptist participants turned in a positive performance for 2005 as well as positive returns since their inception on Aug. 27, 2001. (For additional information about GuideStone Funds, visit www.GuideStone.org.)

“We have just completed three very strong years at GuideStone, and we are pleased with our investment team and the quality of our investment management services,” said Rodric E. Cummins, GuideStone’s executive officer for investment services. “We believe our rigorous, yet disciplined, investment process has consistently positioned our funds to take advantage of attractive investment opportunities across global markets and allowed our funds to gain solid traction in the investment marketplace.”

Hawkins noted that GuideStone’s theme in 2005 was the “year of the second mile,” and “we challenged every GuideStone employee to not only perform their duties with integrity and skill but to go the second mile whenever possible in assisting our participants.”

Among the highlights Hawkins noted from 2005:

— The Southern Baptist Convention gave final approval to the new name, GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, in June and in September the name changes for the GuideStone affiliates were completed. SBC Financial Services, Inc., became GuideStone Capital Management; AB Funds Trust became GuideStone Funds; and SBC Trust Services became GuideStone Financial Services.

— Rates for the majority of GuideStone’s PPO medical plan participants decreased for 2006 during a time when medical inflation averaged 12 to 14 percent according to industry surveys. In addition, GuideStone was able to improve benefits for preventive care and other services.

— GuideStone teamed with Morningstar Associates, LLC, to offer free online retirement planning advice and guidance services to retirement participants in October.

— GuideStone’s website, www.GuideStone.org, was updated in July with improved navigation and additional information.

— A new, redesigned quarterly account statement was mailed to retirement participants in July with a comprehensive picture of a participant’s retirement account in a concise, easy-to-understand format.

— Financial assistance funds from direct contributions topped $6.3 million, including a sizable gift from the Louisiana Baptist Convention Shepherd’s Fund to supplement the Adopt An Annuitant benefits of Louisiana retirees. Cooperative Program receipts of $1.3 million were paid out, in their entirety, to needy retirees.

— In response to the needs created by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, GuideStone provided assistance to hundreds of its retirement and medical plan participants.

— The year concluded with preparation for the successful launch of the Real Estate Securities Fund on Jan. 3.

“We consider it a privilege to serve Southern Baptists,” Hawkins said. “Our vision statement reminds us each day that we exist to honor the Lord by being a lifelong partner with our participants in enhancing their financial security.”

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